Act of kindness ends in true bond of friendship
THE first person Andrew Dobbins saw after arriving in LA for his honeymoon was the man whose life he helped to save.
The 32-year-old Airlie Beach man said he was jet lagged and stiff from the 13-hour flight on July 22 when this big man came barrelling up and hugged him.
"And I realised it was Mike," Andrew said.
American Michael Ohler's life, and the lives of his friends and family, was changed when the bone marrow registry came back with a match in Andrew in 2007.
Michael had been diagnosed with a type of leukaemia.
He and Andrew had been in touch over social media for a number of years. When Andrew was planning his honeymoon to the US, he realised how close he and new bride Noella would be to where Michael lived.
"He got quite excited and insisted we stay there the entire weekend," Andrew laughed.
Little did Andrew know his wife had secretly organised for Michael to meet them at the LA airport.
Noella, 38, said the first meeting was "amazing".
"I cried," she said.
Have you ever made a life-giving donation?
This poll ended on 11 August 2014.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"This is someone who's definitely family now... and is definitely going to be a big part of our lives."
The newlyweds spent a weekend with Michael and his family and met many of their friends.
"I got lots and lots of hugs," Andrew said.
"It was pretty emotional for everyone... it was overwhelming."
Andrew said it hadn't really hit him until he met everyone exactly what his simple and selfless gesture had done for this family.
Michael had also contacted a few of his local news organisations and Andrew was interviewed about his act of kindness.
"Just to get the word out there for more people to donate," he said.
Andrew had begun donating blood in about 2002 and at the same time signed up for the bone marrow registry.
To Andrew it was "just a few needles" and being "hooked up to a machine for five hours", but to Michael it was everything.