Jeff Wagner was a marathon runner and an avid beach volleyball player before he contracted Leukemia in 2003. He battled back and thought he'd beaten the disease, until another deadly form of Leukemia struck him in 2007, leaving him paralyzed.
He says he would have died had it not been for a bone marrow transplant.
Now, for the first time, Wagner is spending time with the donor who saved his life, 52 year-old Josef "Sepp" Feuerecker, a city worker from a small city in Germany.
"It's like meeting a long lost twin brother for the first time that you knew you never had," says Wagner. "I am him. If I were to go rob a bank, it would be him because I've got his DNA and his blood type."
The marrow donor and recipient sat together at USF's College of Public Health, at one in a series of marrow and blood donor events in the USF area.
Feuerecker says it's hard to describe what it's like to know that his marrow saved Jeff's life.
"You can only get the experience if you get a chance to be a donor, then you will see," he says.
Click on the video player above to watch Lloyd Sowers' full report. For more information on how to join the Bone Marrow Registry, visit www.bethematch.org.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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