COLERAIN TWP, Ohio - When Erika Turner visited her doctor's office in the fall of 2010, she wasn't feeling well. However nothing prepared her for the diagnosis she would receive.
"I remember as clear as day the doctor telling me, 'Ms. Turner we're glad you listened to your body and that you came because you have three or four days to live.' And I will never forget that moment," said Turner.
The wife and mother of two boys was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.
D. Miguel Islas-Ohlmayer treated Turner at Oncology Hematology Care, Inc.
"It tends to me one of the more aggressive leukemias and so we treat them with very aggressive chemotherapy followed by a transplant," said Dr. Islas-Ohlmayer.
Turner was put on a waiting list for a bone marrow transplant. After six weeks of waiting, she finally got the call. Her donor was an unlikely match.
"What I know about him is that he is tall, Caucasian, he's 23. He is the total opposite of what I am but our DNA matched perfectly," said Turner who is African American.
In December 2010, the bone marrow transplant took place at Mercy Jewish Hospital and was a success. Turner is now in remission.
On Wednesday morning, she met her donor for the first time live on Good Morning America.
"I just want to tell him thank you," said Turner. "He's my angel. We will forever and ever be connected to the day I die or the day he dies. We will forever be connected. He lives in my soul."
Turner said she has limited information about her donor but knows he is a college student from northern Ohio.
"How he joined the registry, there was a student at his college that was in need of a bone marrow transplant and they had a bone marrow drive at his campus. He signed up then not knowing he was going to save my life a year later," said Turner.
GMA anchor Robin Roberts was scheduled to interview Turner. Roberts is set to have a bone marrow transplant from her sister to help her battle MDS, a blood and bone-marrow disorder.
Roberts and Turner also want to raise awareness about becoming a bone marrow donor, especially in the African American community where donors only account for 7 percent.
"I want the world to know that bone marrow transplants save lives and the only way we can save lives is by donors. We got have a donor," said Turner. "We as African Americans, we need to join the registry, Be The Match registry. We need to get educated. We need to dispel the myths of bone marrow transplants. "
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has planned two events to raise awareness about blood cancers.
Light the Night walk is being held on Sept. 27 at the Mason Municipal Center beginning at 7 p.m.
A second walk is planned for Thursday, Oct. 11 at Sawyer Point at 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.lightthenight.org/soh/what/ .
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