Utah Girl Needed Bone Marrow Transplant, Meet The Selfless Donor Who Saved Her Life

A Utah girl needed a bone marrow transplant, and one man in 11 million was her only hope. Meet the selfless man who saved her life.

Cami Carver of Salt Lake City, Utah, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in July, 2010, and by August, 2013, following a brief remission period, was told she was going to need a bone marrow transplant, the Today show reported. After realizing nobody in her immediate family was a match, doctors turned to the bone marrow registry and found her donor.


The man was Joe Tolin, a 26-year-old from Beaumont, Texas, who got swabbed six-months earlier outside the restaurant he manages because one of his employees’ daughter needed a transplant. At the time, Tolin didn’t think anything of it and went about his day, hoping that someone in need would contact him some day.

“I really hoped that they would contact me, but I didn’t think too much about it. I just signed up and went back to my day-to-day routine.”

In August, 2013, Tolin got the unexpected call from the registry Be The Match, informing him a Utah girl was fighting for her life and needed a bone marrow transplant. He couldn’t have imagined the impact his decision to give the swab would have.

The donor’s wife was expecting the couple’s second child then, and he knew exactly what he would do.

“There was this cure and it was waiting, ” says Joe. “And it was built into me to be used as an instrument of healing.”

It is said that Cami and Joe are DNA twins. He was the only one out of the 11 million people in that registry that was a perfect match. Joe went to Houston, Texas, to have his DNA extracted from his hip. However, this was nothing compared to the Utah girl’s chemotherapy sessions.

In 2015, the Utah girl met her bone marrow donor. To say their first encounter was emotional would be an understatement. On a Facebook page called Kisses For Cami, the family talks about how grateful they are to Tolin.

“What do you say to the man who literally saved your daughter’s life?” says Pat Carver, Cami’s dad when the two met.

Having put behind her one of the most difficult things a child can go through, this Utah girl is a normal 9-year-old, full of energy and optimism. The bond between Cami and Joe is one that will last a lifetime, a unique relationship that grew because of one man’s selfless act.

[Photo via Instagram]