Brooklyn Boro

Doctor meets woman whose life he saved with his stem cells

October 23, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Stem cell transplant recipient Wendy Fullem had this description of Dr. Peter Gold, “He gave me my life back.” The two met for the first time at a charity race. Photo by David Nicholas

Dr. Peter Gold, an orthopedic surgeon, saved a woman’s life — but he didn’t need a scalpel to do it.

Gold saved 54-year-old Wendy Fullem’s life by donating his stem cells to her.

Gold, 28, who lives in Williamsburg, and Fullem, a New Jersey resident suffering from leukemia, met for the first time a year after Gold’s donation, when they both took part in the recent Gift of Life Marrow Registry Steps for Life 5K at Battery Park. 

Upon their emotional meeting, Fullem expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Gold for the life-saving donation he had made to her. Gold’s stem cells were transplanted into Fullem in 2017. The two were matched up through the Gift of Life Marrow Registry organization. 

“There are not enough words for me to thank Peter for what he did. I will cherish this for the rest of my life. He gave me my life back. We are now connected to each other in every possible way, and he is a part of me and my family. Thanks to him, I was reborn,” Fullem said in a statement.

Due to New York state’s medical anonymity laws, Fullem and Gold did not know each other’s identities before their first meeting at the Steps for Life race on Oct. 14.

Fullem, an executive assistant, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and was in desperate need of a stem cell transplant, according to Gift of Life officials.

Gold, who had joined Gift of Life’s registry back when he was a sophomore at Tulane University in New Orleans in 2010, was informed last year that he was a match for Fullem. He readily agreed to donate his stem cells for a transplant that was performed at Hackensack University Hospital. 

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“There is no better privilege than of being able to save someone’s life, and I am very thankful for the opportunity,” said Gold, who works at Long Island Jewish Center Northshore.

The stem cell donation was not the first time the heroic Gold has saved a woman’s life.

While attending Tulane University, Gold jumped in to defend a woman who was being attacked at an ATM. He saved the victim’s life, but the attacker shot him. Gold recovered from his gunshot wound and eventually came to New York City, settling in Williamsburg. 

Gold signed up with the Gift of Life registry in 2016. “I can save another life and not get shot!” he said. 

Gold and Fullem were among 500 people who participated in the Steps for Life 5K event. 

The charity run was held to raise awareness of need of life-saving transplants for patients with blood cancers, officials said.

The Gift of Life organization was founded in 1991 and currently boasts a registry of more than 300,000 people, including stem cell and bone marrow donors.

 

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