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  • Age
    57
  • Occupation
    Regional Sales Coordinator
  • Company
    Aflac
  • Location
    Boston, Mass.

Well over a decade had passed since Steven Karas had registered as a bone marrow donor through his Boston-area synagogue. Then, around Thanksgiving 2006, he got the call: He was a match for a 1-year-old boy with a rare disorder called osteopetrosis, a condition in which the body’s bones get harder and more brittle. The syndrome can lead to anemia, infections, blindness, and sometimes death. As Karas held the phone, the father of three boys could think of only one question: “Oh, my God, what if I needed this for my child?” His answer was to rush to the hospital and donate his marrow. A year later, Karas met the family of Matthew Welling, the recipient of his gift, and they have been close ever since, despite a heated Red Sox–Yankees rivalry (Karas is pictured above, left, with the Welling clan). After his own donation, Karas helped persuade Aflac president Paul Amos to initiate a company-wide marrow-registration push in 2008 and 2009, working with the National Marrow Donor Program, now called Be the Match. That effort continues today in a handful of regional offices. So far, says Karas, it has led to at least a dozen matches.

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