A 3-year-old cancer survivor and her bone marrow donor are now bonded in more ways than one.
Skye Savren-McCormick served as the flower girl in 26-year-old Hayden Hatfield Ryals’ wedding after the woman donated bone marrow to the toddler, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The young girl was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia just before turning a year old back in March 2016. In that same year, she received her first bone marrow transplant from Ryals, who had signed up to be a donor in college.
“It’s the easiest thing,” Ryals said of her donor experience. “It’s a cheek swab — swab your cheek, put it in an envelope and they send it off ... I thought there’s like a one in a gazillion chance that I would ever be a match.”
Nearly a year later, Ryals was contacted by a coordinator with Be the Match, which is when she learned that she was paired with Savren-McCormick.
“I had been struggling for a while; I had changed my major,” Ryals recounted. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life and my career. I was feeling really down about everything. I was having trouble finding myself and feeling like I had a purpose. So the more that I talked to this coordinator with Be the Match, I started feeling like what if this is my purpose?”
After the first transplant from Ryals, Savren-McCormick later experienced some complications and had to have a second transplant from a different donor in 2017. However, she remained in Ryals' thoughts, which prompted the woman to reach out to the family.
They corresponded back and forth before Ryals eventually asked the toddler to be her flower girl for her wedding. She popped the question, so to speak, on Savren-McCormick’s third birthday.
Upon receiving the green light from her doctors, Savren-McCormick headed to Alabama with her parents to finally meet Ryals and make her flower girl debut.
“I always tell people they’re smitten for one another,” the girl’s mother, Talia Savren-McCormick, told “Good Morning America.”
“I feel like Hayden is such a huge success in why Skye was able to beat leukemia,” she added.
Ryals fondly described the moment she got to hug Savren-McCormick for the very first time: “I walked up and I just dropped to my knees, and all I could do was smile,” she said.
Although the wedding is over, the families plan to stay in contact.
“They are going to be part of our lives forever,” Talia Savren-McCormick said. “She saved our daughter's life.”
Now, the two have many special moments between them to share for the rest of their lives. And, it's likely safe to say that there wasn't a dry eye among the wedding guests as little Savren-McCormick made her way down the aisle.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Pexels, Blake Newman