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Good Samaritan from Germany Donated Bone Marrow to Save a Local Patient's Life

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Two years ago, a young man from Germany named Manuel Auge donated some of his bone marrow to save the life of a complete stranger, Thomas Murphy of Burr Ridge.

The bone marrow transplant cured Murphy of a blood disorder called MDS that otherwise would have been fatal.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, Auge and Murphy met for the first time during the 25th Annual Bone Marrow Transplant Celebration of Survivorship at Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. More than 400 patients, family members and friends attended.

Murphy, who lives in Burr Ridge, had a blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome. MDS causes immature blood cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, leading to a shortage of mature blood cells. Mature blood cells that are made also can be defective.

To kill the defective cells, Murphy received high-dose chemotherapy and whole-body radiation. He then received healthy new blood-forming stem cells that came from Auge’s bone marrow.

“You saved my life,” Murphy told Auge moments after they met. “You’re a star.”
Auge, a physics student in Tullmenau, Germany, said, “If you could save the life of a person, I think you should do it. It gives you a good feeling."

Murphy’s physician, Dr. Patrick Stiff, said, “Mr. Auge is as much a hero as a fireman who pulls a person out of a burning building. Because he donated his cells, Mr. Murphy is alive and healthy today.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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Jim Ritter
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