STEM CELL DONATION

Jason Justiss, left, met the man he donated stem cells to, Mike Hulen of Massachusetts, at this past month’s Bryan Quinn-Al Edwards Award Banquet sponsored by Because I Care in Longview.

Special to the News-Journal

A Longview man recently met the stranger tow whom he donated stem cells in 2015.

In May 2013, Jason Justiss was recruited for the Be the Match Registry by Because I Care, a local donor recruitment group affiliated with the registry, at an event in Gilmer.

Justiss was notified in 2015 that he matched a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient in Massachusetts and decided to donate stem cells.

Although the donation is done anonymously, the donor and recipient may get in touch with one another after a year if they choose.

Justiss and Mike Hulen of Waltham, Massachusetts, spoke several times by phone and followed one another on Facebook during the past three years, but they were able to meet face-to-face Nov. 14 at the Bryan Quinn-Al Edwards Award Banquet sponsored by Because I Care in Longview.

At the banquet, Hulen spoke about his experience.

“I had been through chemo and radiation for quite some time, and one day my doctor walked in and told me, ‘The stars have aligned for you,’ when he informed me that I had a donor match,” he said.

Hulen said he saw Justiss’ Facebook posts about how he and others took boats to Houston in 2017 to help flood victims.

“I thought, ‘This guy’s got a good heart,’ ” Hulen said. “He’s not only a hero to me, but to others, too.”