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Tulsa man donates bone marrow to child in Brazil

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 19:38:13-05

TULSA -- A decision made with mischievous intentions more than a decade ago is proving to be rewarding than expected.

"I just wanted to skip class without getting in trouble," said Ernesto Casillas, a Tulsa organ donor.

Ernesto Casillas spent the day giving blood back in high school because he got to miss class. He later agreed at 18-years-old, to be put on a list to donate bone marrow, with no knowledge of the process.

"Oh God no, I didn’t know any of that stuff," said Casillas.

11 years later he's living in Tulsa, working at Brownies Hamburgers, and got a call that an 11-year-old Brazilian girl needed his help.

"A severe case of anemia, borderline Leukemia," said Casillas.

They were a match, but it wasn't a simple swap for the two.

"The first time she got sick so we didn’t go through any of the procedures any of the blood work or anything, then the second time we were about to get everything done, get everything finalized, until she got sick again," said Casillas.

But the third time was the charm. While there are nearly 5,000 miles between Tulsa and Brazil, for Ernesto the world never felt so small.

"It just made me realize that a lot of people can donate, it’s not a life and death procedure and then you’re helping somebody out," said Casillas.

The success of the procedure came full circle for Ernesto. His father not long ago, was on the other side of the waiting list.

"He ended up getting the kidney last year and I helped out this little girl this year, so I guess my karma is paying back," said Casillas.

If you'd like to learn more about bone marrow donation, you can visit Be The Match.

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