Connected by an Angel

Alex Sorensen, your typical college student, is a Hero to a little boy he may never meet. Why? Because in 2022, he did something incredible. Alex donated his bone marrow to an 8-year-old blood cancer patient, saving that child’s life.   

It all started when Alex got swabbed at a swim meet in Towson, Maryland. The bone marrow registry drive was set up for Andrew Mercier, a 10-year-old boy from Towson who was battling blood cancer.   

In April 2022, Alex got a call saying that he was a match for someone who needed his help. Although he was only a half match for his recipient, Alex went through with the process to donate.   

As a student at Case Western University, Alex flew out of Cleveland to the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute to go through his donation process. Alex was put up in a hotel as he was expected to be at the transplant center bright and early the next morning for the surgery to remove bone marrow from his hip bone.  

The next morning, Alex was nervous about the surgery, but his worries were relieved when he got to the hospital. “Everyone was so nice to me; I was very taken care of,” says Alex about the hospital staff. When asked how the surgery affected him, Alex exclaimed he was sore for a few weeks, but nothing too extreme. The worst part for him was changing out the bandage on the back of his hip.   

Alex’s story serves as an inspiration to anyone considering joining the registry or donating their bone marrow. Alex wants other to know that donating is “such an easy thing to do and such a rewarding thing to do.” Sadly, Andrew lost his battle with cancer, but it was not in vain as Alex saved another child’s life.  

After the procedure, Alex’s mom gifted him a bracelet with an angel charm attached. A matching bracelet was given to the 8-year-old recipient. “I wear it every day,” says Alex. Although Alex hasn’t been in contact with his recipient yet, he feels a special connection to him through these bracelets. “We’re always connected by this little angel” says Alex.   

The angel bracelets serve as a powerful symbol of hope, resilience, and the bond between donor and recipient. For Alex, the angel is a tangible reminder of his sacrifice and the impact he’s had on another person’s life. 

*Education Note: 80% of the time, bone marrow donation is done through an IV stem cell procedure. The procedure that Alex did is usually done in the case of children and the critically ill.