ODU grad helps save 60-year-old man’s life

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MECHANICSVILLE, Va. – A young man from Mechanicsville made a choice to sacrifice a bit of himself to save a life.

Four years ago Joe Pulisic registered, along with four football teamamate at Old Dominion University, to be a blood marrow donor. Joe was 18 at the time.

Not too long ago, he got a call that he was a perfect match for a stranger who was suffering.

"Yeah, I gave consent right away. I didn’t even think about it,” Joe said. “That was the first thing I said was ‘let’s do it.’ Get the ball rolling.”

Even though he had an important game two days later, he wanted to help a stranger.

Joe and Bruce

Joe and Bruce

“I just really wanted it to work,” Joe said. “I was just hoping and praying that every drop of blood would have some sort of impact.”

Joe learned his decision saved a 60-year-old North Carolina man Bruce Rhyne, a married father with two teenagers who was facing certain death. Two weeks ago, donor and recipient met for the first time face to face.

“Yeah, it was crazy opened the door and there is a person standing there with my blood,” Joe said.

“Not everyone says ‘yes’ when they get that call,” said Dan Gariepy, with Be the Match. He applauded Joe’s decision – adding that many people may register, but not everyone goes through with the donor process.

“I would really encourage people to join the ‘Be The Match’ registry,” Dan said.

“It was a pain but I would do it again for sure,” Joe said, humbled and overjoyed knowing his marrow saved a life and in turn helped his family circle grow.

“You could see that positive impact that your life can have on someone walk in the door and stare you in the face,” he added.

If you know a hero in the community, please reach to Greg McQuade and share their story.