"He saved my life:" Bone marrow patient meets the donor that helped fight his cancer

Julio, left, meets Ryan, right. Ryan donated bone marrow to the Gift of Life registry. That donation ended up saving Julio’s life. (Image: WPEC)

A New York man met his hero in Boca Raton Sunday morning. Most people have a hero, but they're typically not less than half your age.

Julio Rivera, 50, says he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2015.

"It was a really hard moment," he said.

After years and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Rivera got a call from the Gift of Life Marrow Registry about a possible match that could save his life. The donation came from Ryan Corning, 23, from Land O' Lakes. He thought to donate after seeing a moving presentation.

"I never thought I was gonna get called," Corning said. "I thought I'd be another number in the presentation."

On Sunday, during Gift Of Life's 5K in Boca Raton, the two were featured as the special guests. They stood together, side by side, with twice as much hope for the future.

"I can't wait to get to know you," Corning said to Rivera.

"The little things you have to do, like a blood transfusion, is nothing compared to all the rewards a recipient can have." said Corning about donating. His recipient couldn't be more grateful for his new, long time best friend.

"He saved my life," Rivera said. "It's just amazing to see someone that young to think that way in such a profound manner."

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