Amanda Trybula meets her lifesaving donor, Bernd Lang

7:17 PM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's the story of an unlikely pair. A young woman from St. Louis, fighting for her life, and the only person doctors could find to help her was a total stranger on the other side of the world.

This week the two met each other face-to-face for the first time.

For Amanda Trybula the sound of a bell marks the end of her battle with leukemia.

But without the man standing next to her, this day may have never come.

"It's surreal, it's just a blessing coming true," said Amanda.

It may be a story with a happy ending, but it had a grim beginning.

It was almost three years ago that Amanda arrived at Siteman Cancer Center. She didn't leave for six months.

"I didn't want to die. That's what was going through my head was I don't want to die, I want to live," she said.

When she was diagnosed with leukemia she was just 24-years-old. Her chances of beating it were slim without a bone marrow donor.

And that's where this man comes in.

"Anyone needs my stem cells then I say yes you can have it," said Bernd Lang.

Lang isn't from around here. He registered to be a bone marrow donor 15 years ago in Germany, but had forgotten about it until he received a letter asking him to help Amanda.

"I wasn't allowed to know anything about him besides that he was a man, and his age, and that he was from Europe," said Amand.

"It's a young girl, 25-years-old and lives in U.S. But that's all I knew," said Lang.

The International Donor Program requires the donor and recipient to remain strangers for two years.

But it does allow anonymous letters.

"He wrote me a letter. And he told me that he wrote me it to tell me that I had strong stem cells," said Amanda.

The two continued to exchange letters until they were finally allowed to meet. And this week Bernd Lang traveled all the way to St. Louis to help Amanda ring the victory bell.

The end of a three year battle, but just the beginning of an unbreakable bond.

Since her transplant, Amanda has hit the ground running. She was just recently married and has even started her own marketing firm where she and her new husband now live in Philadelphia.


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