From Germany to Appleton: bone marrow donor meets recipient

Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 5:27 PM CDT
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18-year-old Jordan Vanstrom has been on a journey filled with ups and downs.

He's had a cancerous brain tumor and leukemia.

Family and friends, though, were always there for him.

"Including Marco and his family, to be honest it's been pretty easy," said Vanstrom.

That's Marco Brodkorb from Germany.

He gave Vanstrom a bone marrow transplant three years ago that helped him survive after being matched through an organization called DKMS.

"I only gave him a missing part of a puzzle, what he needed,” said Brodkorb.

More than four thousand miles traveled and Brodkorb met Vanstrom for the first time this week.

A special moment during a week filled with fun. Brodkrob got to fulfill a dream with a Wisconsin company when he visited the Harley Davidson shop in Grand Chute.

"To be here in the United States and not at a touristic station,” Brodkorb said. “So driving Harley here and feeling the wind going through your face, I think it's a dream of many people,"

And the group continues to spread word about becoming registered as a potential donor with DKMS, highlighting that 75 percent of the national bone marrow registry are white. Making it difficult for minorities to find matches.

"Given someone else a second chance and that's to me, I can't see much that's a lot better than giving somebody life," said Vanstrom.

Vanstrom hopes to turn his experience into a career in medicine.