Augusta, GA (WJBF) – CLICK HERE to register to be a bone marrow donor
Two strangers, who share a special connection, first met here at CSRA. A Texas man donated his bone marrow to save the life of a local man who fights leukemia. It has been over a year and their families met for the first time this week in Augusta.
 NewsChannel 6, Ashley Osborne was there when families got a tour of all the Augusta University Health facilities that made the transplant possible.
Lance and Emily Goninan live in Martinez. In 2015, doctors diagnosed Lance with acute myeloid leukemia and said he would not do it without a bone marrow transplant. That
"To know that we had a 10 by 10 donor It was just wonderful, "says Lance Goninan.
His bone marrow partner was a native of Texas, Justin Benden.
"My first year at Texas A & M I went to an event sponsored by Be The Match called The Maze, "explains Benden. The Maze was a magic show performed by a man who was a recipient of the bone marrow program.
"We came to see the recipients and donors meet at the stage for the first time and it was very emotional ".
After witnessing that emotional moment, Benden signed up to be a bone marrow donor A pair of swabs inside his mouth was all it took to register him in the program.
"Registering is as simple as possible" Benden says. "You have just made a swab in your mouth"
years later and a few tests to make sure he was a rival: Justin donated his bone marrow to Lance.
"It is almost as simple as donating blood. Little more than that, but it's pretty simple, quite simple, but a little thing you can do in your life to have a big impact on someone else's life, for me, it's a piece of cake, "explains Benden.
When asked what Benden's contribution meant to His family, Lance Goninan says, "It means everything, it means that he probably gets to graduate some grandchildren, maybe even see them marry if I live long enough."
When families see AU Health on Friday, one would think that the Benden and the Goninan knew each other all their lives.
"We have adopted them, says Lance Emily's wife Goninan. "We are going to put them in the will that we have decided. I mean, he has given us a lot! "
Benden encourages everyone in the necessary age range of 18-44 to sign up to be a donor.After his experience, he says there is no reason not to register.
 "Knowing Lance and his family for the first time and just experiencing the joy of his family seeing him live longer, it was really amazing! ", says Benden.
On Friday, the members of Be the Match were stationed at the Georgia Cancer Center, register people to be donors, you do not have to go to a clinic to register, you can register online, the organization will send you a kit, it will clean your mouth and it will be returned to you. simple!
CLICK HERE to register in Be the Match