Celebrating Life Boston, held on Thursday March 2, 2023, brought 300 donors, recipients, volunteers, and supporters together at The Cyclorama to honor Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s outstanding members and recognize blood stem cell and bone marrow donors and recipients.
The highlight of the event was the moment Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor Wayne Misselbeck, 66, met his life-saving peripheral blood stem cell donor William “Cory” Beck.
In May 2019, Wayne, who was an actively practicing emergency medicine physician, discovered that his spleen was enlarged during a self-examination, leading to his diagnosis. “I was aware of the gravity of my situation,” said Wayne. “There was a flood of concerns that came in waves. I was concerned for my family, my ability to provide for them, and for my ability to continue practicing medicine.”
Wayne was informed that he would need a peripheral blood stem cell donation to beat the cancer. Even though none of his family members were matches, Wayne never gave up hope. Thankfully, a matching donor was quickly located.
Wayne’s 10 out of 10 match, Cory Beck, was already on Gift of Life’s registry. Cory, 33, had joined in 2016 shortly after his first child was born after seeing a campaign on social media organized by the family of a young man in search of a bone marrow match.
“I was moved by the story and wanted to help,” said Cory. “I thought to myself, ‘what would happen if a friend, family member, or even myself was in his position?’ I ordered a kit that evening.”
When Cory received the call four years later that he had matched with someone, he was anxious, but also eager.
“I wanted to do it and I was hopeful this would work for him,” said Cory. “I knew it would be worth it if it meant I could help someone.”
Finally, the moment arrived when Wayne and Cory would meet each other for the first time. Evie Goldfine, the 16-year transplant survivor and longtime Gift of Life volunteer who sponsored the testing of Cory’s swab kit, first welcomed Wayne to the stage and helped tell his story to the audience. She then called Cory to the stage, and the two men greeted each other with a warm embrace and shared their thanks and appreciation.
“I turn my most heartfelt thanks to Cory,” said Wayne. “Your exceptional humanity is to be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops. My family and I offer you our most ardent and grateful thanks. You’re our hero.”
“This has been an amazing experience,” said Cory. “It ranks right up there with marrying my wife and having three children. I am so happy to have been able to donate.”
The evening also featured a “Taste of Boston,” with food and refreshments provided by outstanding local Boston restaurants including: A La Vanille, Douzō, Catering by Andrew, Farm Grill, Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, The Porch, and Saus.
Bob Socci, the play-by-play voice of the New England Patriots since 2013, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Socci has called six AFC Championship games and four Super Bowls.
Cory, 33, is a software engineer and lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and three children. He enjoys 3D printing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and eating sweets with his kids.
Wayne, 66, is a retired professor of surgery and emergency physician. He and his wife live on Lake Champlain in North Hero, Vt. He is enjoying every day in remission and has recovered many of the hobbies he enjoyed prior his illness. He has even picked up a sweet tooth from his donor!
Cory’s swab kit was sponsored by the Evie Goldfine’s Fundraising Campaign Donor Circle