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Life-Saving Airman, Leukemia Patient Meet for First Time
Date:11/21/2008

A US Airman, fresh from basic training and now serving overseas, meets the young Korean leukemia patient whose life he saved by donating his rare blood type.

Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea (PRWEB) November 21, 2008 -- A local Korean woman and the Wolf Pack Airman whose blood donation saved her life, met for the first time when she visited Kunsan Air Base Nov. 21, 2008.

Airman Tamarias Pope, 8th Security Forces Squadron, met up with 22-year-old You Jin Pak, allowing the 19-year-old Airman to put a face to the person his life-saving donation reached.

"Meeting her was a really good experience," said Airman Pope. "Most people that give blood don't really get to meet the person that they saved. Meeting her felt really good. "She looked healthy; she looked happy. That made me happy."

Airman Pope's role in helping Ms. Pak began Oct. 8 when Dr. Sung Kwang Park from the Chonbuk University Hospital in Jeonju, Republic of Korea called the 8th Medical Group at Kunsan. Dr. Park had a patient in his care suffering from acute myeloid leukemia. She had recently undergone a bone marrow transplant and was in urgent need of blood.

"Ms. Pak was in dire need of a blood transfusion," said Capt. Kevin Blackney, 8th Medical Group. "She had a rare blood type among the Korean population that was more common among Americans."

After conducting a search of the wing's medical records Airman Pope was the first person identified with the matching blood type. Calls were made to Airman Pope's squadron who contacted the Airman at his dorm room. At the time Airman Pope was off duty and sleeping but still quickly returned Captain Blackney's call.

"He called back and within about five hours of his phone call he was up and donating blood at the Chonbuk University Hospital," said the Captain.

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