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TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. – An 11-year-old came face-to-face with the man whose bone marrow donation gave her a second chance at life. There were hundreds of people gathered at the Be the Match gala in Town and Country to witness the special moment and to support young Laila Anderson’s unique journey. After a whirlwind of a year for the 11-year-old—enduring chemo, seeing the Blues make history by winning the Stanley Cup, visiting the White House—this was the moment Laila and her donor, Kenton Felmlee, had been anxiously waiting for. It all came full circle Thursday evening. And the bond, the connection between Kenton and Laila, was instant. “I felt a bond with her before we ever met. I think the second I look at her on the stage and saw her face,” Felmlee said. “Every emotion that I was feeling all exploded into so much more.”
It was an overwhelming moment of emotion as the two embraced for the first time. The Be the Match gala was a fundraiser in place to raise awareness and help to produce more stories and second leases on life like the one that played out on the stage that night. “I’ve been waiting this whole time and it’s like we were meant to be.” A magical moment forever etched into the hearts of Laila, Kenton, their families, and those in the crowd. All inspired by Laila’s resilience and spirit and Kenton’s selflessness. The two, once strangers, now forever bonded by blood. “This is something that means so much to both of us. We’re part of each other now; there is no separating us.” Laila and Kenton both agreed that this is the beginning of a special friendship that will last a long time. They already have plans to hang out soon.