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Cancer survivor meets donor moments before graduating

Cancer survivor meets donor moments before graduating

  • Moments before graduating from the University of Tennessee on Saturday, one graduate met the stem-cell donor who saved her life.
  • Cancer survivor meets donor moments before graduating
  • Makayla needed a miracle to save her life.

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@10NewsWTSP: “Cancer survivor meets donor moments before graduating”


<p>&nbsp;</p><p>Moments before graduating from the University of Tennessee on Saturday, one graduate met the stem-cell donor who saved her life.</p><p>This week, more than 4,800 students graduated from the University of Tennessee. Among them was kinesiology major Makayla Claussen, fought for her life just to walk across the stage.</p><p>In the spring of her sophomore year, doctors diagnosed Claussen with a rare autoimmune disorder called secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, or HLH.</p><p>&quot;They basically told me it was like AIDS,&rdquo; Claussen said. &ldquo;Your body just attacks the cells, then it attacks your organs, and then when it has nothing left to attack, you&#39;re dead.&quot;</p><p>In April 2013, doctors told her she only had two months before the disease would threaten her life.</p><p>Then, as if HLH weren&#39;t enough, another blow: A round of bloodwork led to the discovery of stage-four lymphoma.</p><p>&quot;I was just extremely ill,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They told me that it was needed for me to get a transplant immediately because it would never stop attacking until there was nothing left to attack.&quot;</p><p>Makayla needed a miracle to save her life.</p><p>A global database of 27 million stem-cell donors only found one potential match: Claudia Reverts, who lives 4,000 miles away in Germany.</p><p>On Saturday, Reverts made her first trip to the U.S. just to meet, in person, the woman whose life she saved &ndash; just moments before Claussen walked across the stage to obtain her degree.</p><p>&quot;I wouldn&#39;t be here, I wouldn&#39;t graduate, none of this would have been possible without my donor,&quot; Claussen said.</p><p>&ldquo;When I donated, I thought about the person who gets my stem cells,&rdquo; said Reverts. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very emotional thing.&rdquo;</p><p>Before the school recognized her at graduation, Clauseen said it&rsquo;s all thanks to the Volunteer Spirit – even from 4,000 miles away.</p><p>&quot;Cancer didn&#39;t beat me. I beat it!&quot; she said.</p>


Cancer survivor meets donor moments before graduating

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