On August 30, 2017, 14-year-old Payton Ray met the man that saved his life.
Payton Ray is a sweet-spirited, 14-year-old boy from Odenville, Alabama. He is the son of Robert and Joy Ray.
Payton was born with Down syndrome. At the age of 10, he was diagnosed with myelodysplasia syndrome.
Payton’s mom, Joy, described it to the St. Clair Times this way, “A virus attacked his bone marrow. The blood work continued to get worse and worse. To help with the blood work, they gave him transfusions.”
In 2015, Payton was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Brent Mueller, located in St. Charles, Missouri, was the perfect match.
In high school, Brent signed up to be a bone marrow donor during a high school drive. From more than 200 miles away, Brent received word that he was a match for Payton. By signing up to be a donor, he was placed in a national registry.
Brent knew the importance of donating. He has a sister and a brother who are cancer survivors.
The reunion was heartfelt, to say the least. Many tears were shed as Payton met the man who saved his life.
“Joyfulness, to see the end result of such a little thing. It’s an honor and a privilege to help someone that needs help, and to give life,” said the now 22-year-old Brent Mueller.
“What can you say to somebody that saved your child’s life? Being able to touch this guy physically and knowing what he’s done for my child’s life, that’s immeasurable. I’m glad he’s here and I’m glad he decided to do what he did, because we’ve got Payton as living proof due to one of the decisions he made.” said an emotional Robert Ray, Payton’s father.
The reunion kicked off Children’s of Alabama Committed to a Cure Marrow Registry Drive. Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving procedure, as it treats those with cancers, sickle cell diseases, or severe immune disorders.
Children’s of Alabama treats 30 to 40 children a year who are in need of a bone marrow transplant.
While the Children’s Committed to a Cure Drive is over, you can still register to become a bone marrow donor here.