Pat Flanders hosted a “Welcome to Texas” barbecue in June at her home for some very special visitors, said Angie Summers.
Ewa Ohlund and her family, residents of Sweden, were honored during a party that thanked Ohlund for an exceptional gift – bone marrow for Gala Hyden.
Although Ohlund had never met Hyden and remained an anonymous donor for more than a year, her gift allowed Hyden to live almost ten more years with the disease.
The trip to Texas was made possible by donations from friends.
In May 2005 the family got an email from Ohlund saying she was looking forward to coming over to the States. In Sept. the family was tentatively planning for her visit June 10-17th and in October they were able to use American Airlines miles to fly Ohlund and her family over. In November the flights were booked and Ohlund and her family arrived on June 10th and returned home on the 25th.
Hyden’s journey began in Oct. 1994 when she was having trouble getting over an upper respiratory infection.
On Feb. 6, 1997 Hyden received a bone marrow transplant as a last ditch effort to save her life from Leukemia.
The past eight years have been quite a journey for the Hyden family.
“Gala is the person who is always concerned about others,” said a friend.
A niece of Hyden said: “There is one special woman that has given my aunt and her family the greatest gift of all.”
“By the grace of God there was Ewa,” said one relative.
One of Hyden’s children said: “My mother is a very special person who has touched many lives.”
One nurse coordinator finds fulfillment with her involvement in a bone marrow program in Kansas City, MO.
Margaret Brede, RN, BSN, sometimes delivers the gift of life in a Coleman cooler.
As a nurse coordinator for Heart of America, a bone marrow donation program, Brede’s job sometimes includes hand-delivering donated bone marrow.
“I’ve been to Italy once, Germany twice, and to London to deliver bone marrow,” she said.
Her current role in helping save the lives of critically ill patients is a far cry from her previous nursing job working for an insurance company.