ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- It was an emotional night Thursday as Blues superfan Laila Anderson met the man who donated his bone marrow and saved her life.
The two had talked over the phone, even Facetimed, but did not meet in person until the 'Be the Match' Soiree at the Marriott West Hotel Thursday.
Her donor, Kenton Felmlee, is a sophomore at the University of Kansas studying pre-med. He said his dad, who battled an immune disorder, and a high school teacher who donated bone marrow and saved a life, inspired him to join the Be The Match Donor Registry.
The two received a standing ovation as Felmlee ran onto the stage at the soiree to hug Anderson for the first time. Anderson told Felmlee he gave her a second chance at life.
"I've just been waiting this whole time and now that we finally get to see each other it's like we are meant to be," said Anderson.
Felmlee told Anderson meeting her was better than he even imagined, calling her his best friend.
"When there are things in this world you can only feel and not explain that's what a miracle is and Laila is a miracle in my life and I know I'm a miracle in hers," said Felmlee.
Anderson was battling a deadly immunodeficiency disease and needed the bone marrow transplant. For months, Felmlee didn’t know who he was helping.
“There were a lot of times I’d be in class and I couldn’t focus because all I could think about is, there is somebody out there who, in a way unexplainable, is connected to me. I felt that connection undoubtedly,” Felmlee said in November.
Then, it happened. He learned the life he saved was Anderson’s. He quickly caught up on what she had been up to, such as inspiring the city of St. Louis and motivating a hockey team to a Stanley Cup victory.
“I knew this could give her the chance to have a regular life, to be a happy kid,” Felmlee said.
The 11-year-old who wouldn’t give up and spread so much hope, now has her very own bobblehead and Stanley Cup Championship ring that was hand delivered by her boys, the St. Louis Blues.
"I definitely think this is a lifelong relationship that we have built because of something that means so much to both of us," said Felmlee.
"We are part of each other now. There's no separating us," Anderson added.
Anderson said she plans to take Felmlee with her the Blues game at Enterprise Center on Saturday.