A Story of Survival and Friendship

By Megan Trent

December 27, 2010 Updated Dec 27, 2010 at 8:16 PM EDT

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The gift of time. A young cancer survivor recently made a trip to Iowa to thank a complete stranger for saving his life.

Just four days before his 18th birthday, now 24-year-old Chris Music was diagnosed with Leukemia following a routine football physical. In a matter of hours he was on his way to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

He missed his entire senior year of high school - graduating a semester behind his classmates. Fortunately, the chemo seemed to work.

In 2006, two years later to the day, he found out the cancer was back. The chemo seemed to work again, but in 2009 Music relapsed again. This time a bone marrow transplant was his only option.

His donor was an unlikely one - a girl his own age living in Iowa. Sarah Burton has signed up for the National Marrow Donor Program during a drive at her college her freshman year. It was her marrow that helped save Music's life.

Due to privacy regulations, the two didn't discover one another's identity until a year later. After countless emails and phone conversations, they were finally able to meet at Burton's church in Iowa on December 17th.

Music describes his journey leading up to that point as, "One heck of a ride. I don't think I would take it back for anything, but it was definitely very humbling."

During his trip, Burton gave Music a watch inscribed with the date of his transplant - September 24, 2009. It's a reminder of Burton's selfless gift to Music - time.

Music, now a student at IPFW, says he is currently healthy and doing well.

People ages 18 to 60 who are interested in signing up for the registry or who want to find out more information can visit http://www.marrow.org/

Once registered, donors can be asked to donate blood cells or marrow from their pelvic bone. Donors have the option of changing their minds at any time.

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