It was all in the name of giving back when the son of an undocumented immigrant, who credited kind strangers for helping his family survive, donated bone marrow to a boy with leukemia that wouldn’t have lived without his generosity.
Last Thursday, 13-year-old Ezra Miller, who is now in remission from his leukemia, was able to meet the man who saved his life, 29-year-old Luis Miranda, for the first time at an event organized by DKMS, a non-profit organization that matches patients of blood cancers to their donors.
“I’ve been wanting to meet him for the longest time, and to be able to meet him was just pretty cool,” Ezra, of Castle Rock, Colo., told InsideEdition.com. “It’s kind of weird knowing that he did that for me.”
But for Miranda of Salt Lake City, Utah, donating his bone marrow when he found out he was a perfect match was a no-brainer.
“Once they tell you there’s someone in need, there’s this sense of, ‘Yes, let’s do it, I’m happy to help,’” he told InsideEdition.com. “I knew that if my family were in this situation, where they were in need, I would hope someone would do something for them.”
Miranda, who is originally from Guatemala, said his upbringing in an undocumented immigrant household had a lot to do with his decision to help a stranger in his time of need.
“Growing up in an undocumented family with very little resources, I struggled," he said. "I had dreams, I had all these things I wanted to do, but we just didn’t have much. Simple things like health care, we just didn’t have access to,” he explained. “I’ve been able to beat the odds because strangers were able to help us out.”
Miranda explained he also lost family members along the way.
“I had so little power over what happened with my sister and her husband or my nieces and nephews,” he explained. “Here, I had the power to actually change someone’s life for the better, and I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Ezra’s mom, Cynthia Lowry, credits Miranda’s generous action for saving her son’s life.
“As a parent, you... care [for] and protect your children, and this is one of those places where that ability was taken away from me,” Lowry told InsideEdition.com. “It has been some ups and downs and some near loss experiences, but we’re really grateful for Luis.”
And, Miranda said it was all worth it.
“To know he’s doing well and will have a chance to play outside and ski like he likes and be an adult, that’s fantastic,” he said. “I feel very blessed to be part of something so great.”
Through the process, Miranda said he recognized how important it was for people, especially people of color, to become bone marrow donors.
“We just don’t have enough Latinos registered in the bone marrow registry, which means today, the odds for a Latino to have a type of blood cancer to actually get a transplant is very small,” Miranda explained.
To register as a potential bone marrow donor like Luis Miranda, visit DKMS.org.