November 8, 2007

Kirsten Stauder, an 11-year-old girl from New York, flew to Texas to meet Jay Edwards, the Gladewater man whose bone marrow donation saved her life in 2005. “It was wonderful to have a chance to come to Texas and meet him,” Kirsten said. “That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”

Edwards, the father of two grown sons, said he was happy to finally meet Kirsten. The two have corresponded by e-mail, although most of his interaction has been with her parents, Tim and Linda Stauder.

“I was amazed to see her,” Edwards said. “She’s such a lovely and poised young lady. It’s truly humbling to think that I’ve been a part of helping her to get to this point in her life.”

Like far-flung relatives visiting each other for an early Christmas, Kirsten and her parents exchanged gifts with Edwards and his wife, Nancy.

“I love Texas,” Kirsten said. “It’s so big and clean. It’s also nice to have a chance to take a trip with just my mom and dad and not my brothers.”

Kirsten’s brother Timmy is 16, and twin brothers, Kevin and Tyler, are two.

Edwards joined the National Marrow Donor Program registry at a Because I Care recruitment drive in 2002. Edwards was a match for Kirsten, and she received his marrow in a transplant in February 2004.

Kirsten later needed another transplant, and by that point her younger brothers had been born. They were able to provide the bone marrow she needed.

“I’m glad I chose to be tissue-typed and got a chance to become a bone marrow donor,” Edwards said. “How often does an ordinary person get to make this sort of impact on somebody else’s life?”

Donor Jay Edwards and Recipient Kirsten Stauder