BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The parents of Payton Ray were worried when they learned that at 11 years old, doctors said he had a high red blood cell count.
Payton, who was born with Down Syndrome, went through a series of blood transfusions before it was determined that he’d need a bone marrow transplant.
In 2015, doctors were able to find a donor who was a match for Payton. Thanks to a young man from Saint Charles, Missouri, Payton received his transplant and survived.
Dr. Fred Goldman with Children’s of Alabama says bone marrow donors are critical in situations like Payton’s.
“Finding a donor and being a donor are incredibly important,” Dr. Goldman said. “We couldn’t have done the transplant without the donor.”
In August, Payton got a chance to greet 22-year-old Brent Meuller with a hug. It was a heartfelt hello to a man who saved his life.
Payton is now considered cancer free and is living a full life without leukemia that once threatened him. After a while in isolation, he is now back in school.
Children’s of Alabama doctors now encourage others to save a life like Payton’s and become a donor. Learn how to become a donor by visiting the Be A Match website here.