INDIANAPOLIS - Dave Meuse took part in a blood drive more than a decade ago, never knowing he'd eventually get the chance to save a Hoosier woman's life.
Meuse's information went into a national bone marrow registry database after he donated at a blood drive for a little boy in his hometown of Hudson, Mass. Although that little boy died, it would turn out that Meuse was a perfect bone marrow transplant match for an Indiana woman.
Grace Schmitt was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002. She told RTV6 about learning of her diagnosis, and about how a bone marrow transplant was her only hope, as she waited this week to meet the man who saved her life.
When she received the transplant, Schmitt said she knew almost nothing about Meuse.
"I knew it was a male, and I knew he lived in the United States," she said. "That's all I knew."
Now, 10 years after his life-saving donation, Schmitt was about to meet Meuse, surrounded by her daughters and her students at Ben Davis High School.
Her first words were simple.
"Hi. I'm Grace. Thank you," she said, following up with a hug.
Meuse, for his part, was equally moved.
"This is awesome," he said. "I'm overwhelmed, I guess is the word."
Though Schmitt's daughters were too young to understand the severity of her diagnosis at the time, they now fully grasp the impact of Meuse's gift.
"This is my daughter, Catherine, and she was 8 at the time," Schmitt said. "We're overwhelmed for what you did for me. Because of what you did, I am able to raise my girls."
"I would do it again," Meuse said. "In a heartbeat."
Schmitt was chosen recently by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as this year's 'Light the Night Honored Hero." She and Meuse will walk side-by-side at a charity walk Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Victory Field.