Stem cell donor turns co-best man at recipient’s wedding

In 1997, 8-year-old Chris Costello was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy, doctors informed him that he would need a bone marrow transplant to prevent future relapse. The community rallied together to find a donor, but no one in Costello’s family was a match. Fortunately, a man on the DKMS registry, an international registry for bone marrow donors, answered the call from miles away in Portland, Maine.

The donor, Ed Suslovic, made a seven and a half hour drive to meet Costello in Webster, New York, a year after their successful procedure. Since then, the two have become inseparable, with Suslovic even serving as Costello’s officiant and co-best man at his wedding. Their story took a profound turn when Suslovic himself was diagnosed with leukemia. Costello became a source of support and guidance throughout his friend’s treatment.

Motivated by their own experiences, Costello and Suslovic are now encouraging others to join the DKMS registry through their nonprofit organization called Christopher’s Challenge. To raise awareness and funds, the organization is hosting a pub crawl on December 16 at the Fairport Village Inn. They hope that by sharing their story, they can inspire more individuals to join the registry and give hope to patients in need of bone marrow transplants.

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