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Complete stranger saves life of Conway teen with bone marrow donation

Conway Wampus Cat Brady Robnett was a baseball star on the diamond until life threw him a curveball. He was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas Eve 2020.

CONWAY, Ark. — Conway Wampus Cat Brady Robnett was a baseball star on the diamond until life threw him a curveball. On Christmas Eve 2020, the 16-year-old was diagnosed with AML, a form of leukemia. 

"Brady was healthy. He was practicing baseball three times a week, lifting weights, and was the heaviest he’s been in his life, and the healthiest he’s been in his life,” Brady's mother, Rhonda, said.

She was shocked by the diagnosis. 

“I was in denial," she explained. "We were doing more labs, saying 'this can’t be it because he’s healthy.' Once we got the final diagnosis, I didn’t know what to feel. I was scared and we were all scared.”

Brady began chemo treatments for AML, then in February, he received more tough news. 

“Tests came back and you have a high-risk fusion and you’re going to need a bone marrow transplant," Brady said. "We were so caught up with the fact that we were in deep remission after the first chemo treatment that we were like, 'well there's nothing else that can happen now.' And then that happened, and we thought, 'well we have more to do?' It was devastating.”

Brady needed a donor, so the family turned to his two siblings. Unfortunately, both were not a match. The family was forced to turn to an online registry at bethematch.org

The Robnett family, who had been dealt tough hit after tough hit, were about to hit a home run of their own.

“They came back and said that Brady had a donor. A 22-year-old male that loved my son so much that he was willing to give him his donor cells,” Rhonda said.

Five months after receiving the toughest news of his life on Christmas Eve, Brady got the best present of his life on May 28th, 2021. His 17th birthday.

“It’s an easy day to remember. You’ve got Christmas Eve and my birthday,” Brady said.

Nearly six months later, Brady is back to doing what he loves and he’s grateful to his unknown teammate, somewhere out there, who he hopes to thank someday soon.

“I cannot wait to meet him because that will be one of the greatest days of my life, knowing that there is someone out there, a stranger who doesn’t know who I am at all. Knowing that someone would give me a life is extremely selfless and I’m forever thankful for it,” Brady said.