BY LEANN DILBECK –
Faith Chaney, along with her parents Fred and Sheli Chaney, received a shock Sunday during her “Faith Gives Back” event. Completely unaware that Faith’s grandparents, Jose and Kathy Perez, had arranged and flown in Faith’s donor, Richard Laboissonniere from Rhode Island to meet them.
The family had learned his identity a year following Faith’s bone marrow transplant and had maintained contact through mail and Facebook but always wanted to meet the very special person that was responsible for saving Faith’s life.
Faith had contracted a rare disease known as Aplastic Anemia and her bone marrow was no longer producing any blood cells or platelets. Through the generosity of one man, Richard Laboissonniere, Faith now enjoys the life of a normal and busy 9-year old little girl. Faith’s maturity is beyond her years as she expressed her gratitude to meet Laboissonniere.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Sheli could only say “amazing…it’s just amazing.” Laboissonniere was a true “amazing” 10 out of 10 match for Faith and according to Kathy, that type of match is unheard of from a non-family member. Kathy said the sacrifices that Laboissonniere had to make were large. Once he was contacted that he was a match, he barely left his house for two weeks leading up the surgery, took vitamins, etc. preparing for the opportunity to save a life.
With the successful transplant, doctors told Laboissonniere that Faith was as close to being his child as a human could be, not having actually birthed. The father of three boys, Laboissonniere exclaimed, “I finally got my girl!” when he learned of Faith’s sex.
“He’s just awesome!” said Kathy. “He’s just like part of our family in so many ways.” She continued, “God did things above and beyond what we asked. We never dreamed to ask for the donor to be like us…or to be such a beautiful person…but he is. He is just like we are! God truly knows our needs even when we don’t.”