Speed Reads

it wasn't all bad

Bone marrow recipient thrilled to meet her 'brave' donor face-to-face

Tia Jensen and Gage Tappe came into each other's lives at the perfect time — she needed a bone marrow donor while he was looking for purpose.

Two decades ago, Jensen learned she had multiple sclerosis, and in 2018 was diagnosed with leukemia. She began chemotherapy treatments in Seattle, and was put on the bone marrow transplant list. A match was found in Idaho: Tappe, who told Today he was at an "all-time low" after moving to a new state and having partial custody of one of his children. 

Tappe said when he learned he was a match for someone, he immediately agreed to go through with the donation process. "If you can help in a big way or a small way, [it] doesn't matter," he told Today. "Do what you can, and that's it." The transplant was a success, and doctors gave Jensen two pieces of good news: both her leukemia and multiple sclerosis were in remission.

Jensen wanted to thank her then-anonymous donor for being "willing to just be brave and take that step and share this kindness and marrow and give me a second chance at life," she said, and after two years, she was given Tappe's name. She immediately got in touch with him, and they had their first in-person meeting last week on Today. Tappe said the donation helped him with his depression, as it "gave me a sense of value to myself that I didn't previously have," and he told Jensen he was "just grateful and happy that you're here."