York man meets FDNY firefighter whose bone marrow donation helped save his life in 2012
NEW YORK — A York man met the bone marrow donor whose generous gift helped save his life during a ceremony honoring 13 Fire Department of New York bone marrow donors at a ceremony Thursday at FDNY Headquarters.
Joseph Stike, 29, required a donor transplant from a non-family member to treat a rare genetic disease, Dyskeratosis congenita, which affects bone marrow function. In 2012, he found a match, and after 10 days of chemotherapy and one day of radiation, he received a transplant from FDNY Lieutenant Kieran Brosnan.
After weeks of rehabilitation, Stike returned home from the University of Minnesota, where he received the transplant, happy and healthy once again.
Stike thanked Brosnan at Thursday’s ceremony.
“You are a true hero, Kieran,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the proof that there is still love, compassion and kindness in this sometimes-crazy world we live in.”
Brosnan, 50, joined the FDNY in May of 1993, and served 18 years as a New York City Firefighter working in the Bronx, before his retirement in 2011.
In May, 2012, he was contacted by the New York Blood Center and informed he was a potential match for Stike. That summer, he donated bone marrow at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
“I never did this to get any attention, I just wanted to help someone in any way that I could,” said Brosnan. “I am so delighted to have the opportunity to meet him in person, seven years post-transplant.”
Stike and Brosnan were joined at the ceremony by Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and Christopher D. Hillyer, M.D., president and CEO of New York Blood Center.
“More than 200 FDNY members have answered the call for life-saving bone marrow donations – including several members who have donated to help others on multiple occasions – and thousands more stand ready to donate when a match is found,” said Nigro. “The FDNY’s partnership with the New York Blood Center and the Be The Match Registry continues to provide our Department the opportunity to save lives well beyond the borders of the five boroughs. I encourage everyone to follow the Department’s lead and sign up to potentially help save a life.”
“The FDNY is an invaluable partner to New York Blood Center and we are privileged to have the opportunity to honor the dedication of those who have given of themselves in such an extraordinary manner,” said Hillyer. “The powerful donor-recipient reunions we’re celebrating today are a reminder that all New Yorkers can step up and join the FDNY in helping to save lives.”