Cathy Nadaud always hoped to one day meet the anonymous bone marrow donor who helped her beat back leukemia.
She didn’t know that chance would come Friday evening.
The Jewish Hospital arranged a surprise reunion for Nadaud with her Pittsburgh donor, Nina Cordelli, at the organization’s annual Partners in Hope Reunion in Mason.
Fighting back tears, Cordelli told the audience of 350 how she joined the National Bone Marrow Donor registry in 2011 when she helped coordinate a drive while in nursing school.
“The statistic they gave me was that there was a less than one percent chance I would ever be matched with anybody who needed a transplant,” said Cordelli, now 23. “I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would have been (matched).”
The call came eight months later. Cordelli was a near perfect match for a 60-year-old Springdale grandmother and teacher with acute myeloid leukemia. A bone marrow transplant, she was told, was the woman’s only chance for survival.
“I felt there was just no possible way I could say no to this opportunity to potentially save someone else’s life,” said Cordelli.
As Cordelli spoke, Nadaud sat in the audience, slowing recognizing herself. By the time Cordelli finished, there was no need to call her forward by name — she knew she was the one.
For Nadaud, the emotional reunion marked the culmination of a battle that began in 2008 when she was first diagnosed with leukemia.