Chicago Man Meets the WCU Student Who Saved His Life - KMSP-TV

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Chicago Man Meets the WCU Student Who Saved His Life

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Radnor, PA -

It was the meeting of two lifetimes at Villanova University Saturday night.  In one corner of the stage was a young Lithuanian man named Sigitas Sleckus.  "Iggy" as he's called, just battled his way back from leukemia.

On the other end was West Chester University football fullback Jared Bonacquisti who took a few hours of his time a few years ago to donate his stem cells. 

Those cells are the reason Iggy rushed across the stage, flushed with emotion, eager to thank the man who gave him a second chance at life.

"It's the first time that I felt like I had hope," he told FOX29.

"He changed my whole perception on life and what's important," said Bonacquisti as he hugged Sleckus.

Their meeting was arranged by The Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, founded by the Villanova Football coach in 1992.

It was just a few years ago, during Bonacquisti's freshman year when he offered up his DNA to the National Bone Marrow Registry. It took a simple swab inside of his cheek.

In 2011, he would get a surprising call saying he was a match for Sleckus, then a 30-year-old Chicago-area resident living with his wife and young son.

He had just been diagnosed with blood cancer, turning his whole life upside down.

"Right away to me it sounded like a death sentence very pretty much," Sleckus said.

Bonacquisti donated the cells at Hahnemann University Hospital.  They made their way to Sleckus, fighting the leukemia in his body before he was finally cancer free.

Their meeting was extra special as Saturday was Iggy's 33rd birthday. 

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