By Desirée Taylor
It was a celebration of the gift of life at Hackensack University Medical Center. Erin Barone, the recipient of a bone marrow transplant at the hospital nine years ago got to meet her donor, Cheryl Pogue, face to face for the first time on Saturday. “Overwhelming, we just hugged … everyone was crying,” said Pogue, a grandmother from Canada.
Pogue initially registered to be a bone marrow donor to see if she was a match for a relative. She wasn’t a match for her cousin, but when she found out she was a match for another person she didn’t know, Pogue didn’t hesitate to do it. “What I went through was nothing,” said Pogue. “What they [Erin’s family] went through … she’s just a miracle girl.”
Seventeen-year-old Erin Barone has faced many challenges. A few days after her bone marrow transplant she became very ill. It took several months before she showed signs of recovery. Then several years later she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “We monitor her but she’s doing great,” said her mother Lauren Pietrowicz. “She’s a little miracle in many people’s eyes.”
Barone has plans to go to art school and become a photographer. It’s a dream she knows wouldn’t be possible if a former stranger didn’t give her the gift of life.
And it’s a gift virtually anyone can give by registering to be a donor.