Jacksonville man meets bone marrow donor after five years

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Two strangers from across the country have formed a friendship after one gives the gift of life. 

Scott Gray, a Jacksonville local, and former Marine traveled to California over the weekend to meet the man who has given him a second chance at life.

Gray was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014. He received a bone marrow transplant with the help from the Gift of Life Marrow Registry. 

His donor is first-time donor Abraham Zilkha from California.

The two had never met, nor known about each other except their age and sex. 

“It’s certainly a commitment and there’s travel, there’s some uncomfortable procedures involved, but it’s not painful it’s not risking your life, it’s not taking a lot of danger, and it’s just making the time to help somebody,” said Zilkha.

In August of 2018, Gray needed a second bone marrow transplant. Zilkha didn’t deny the offer to help.  

“Some of my cells didn’t diminish and they started taking over his bone marrow because they weren’t all taking out,” said Gray. 

The two finally met in Beverly Hills over the weekend at Gift of Life’s Young Professionals Committee’s Celebrating Life.

An emotional encounter that led the two meeting each other’s families.

Gray said the impact is far more than just the donor and recipient. 

“I have a wife, I have grandchildren, a mother, father, brother, sisters, you affect a conglomerate amount of people,” said Gray. 

Gray is still recovering and plans to travel with his family along with continuing to work an excavation business. 

Zilkha said he is not hesitant to do this again. 

The two plan to stay in touch and continue this new overdue friendship. 

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