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3-year-old cancer survivor serves as flower girl in bone marrow donor’s wedding
HARTFORD, ALA. — A toddler who survived cancer honored her bone marrow donor in a special way -- by serving as flower girl in her wedding last month.
Skye Savren-McCormick, 3, proudly tossed flowers down the aisle for the bride, 26-year-old Hayden Hatfield Ryals.
Skye walked down the aisle wearing a bracelet of pearls inscribed with her name -- a gift from Ryals.
“I always tell people they’re smitten for one another,” Skye’s mother, Talia Savren-McCormick, told “Good Morning America.” “I feel like Hayden is such a huge success in why Skye was able to beat leukemia.”
Skye was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia in March 2016, just before her first birthday, according to the Mark Broadway Photography blog.
That year, she had her first bone marrow transplant from Ryals, who signed up as a bone marrow donor during college.
“It’s the easiest thing,” Ryals told the Dothan Eagle. “It’s a cheek swab -- swab your cheek, put it in an envelope and they send it off ... I thought there’s like a one in a gazillion chance that I would ever be a match.”
Almost a year later, Ryals got a call from a coordinator with Be the Match.
She was 23 years old at the time and was told she was a match for a baby girl with leukemia.
“I had been struggling for a while; I had changed my major,” Ryals told the Dothan Eagle. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life and my career. I was feeling really down about everything. I was having trouble finding myself and feeling like I had a purpose. So the more that I talked to this coordinator with Be the Match, I started feeling like what if this is my purpose?”
Skye struggled for some time with multiple complications and had to have a second transplant from another donor in 2017.
During that time, Ryals thought about the little girl and decided to reach out.
Be the Match requires donors and recipients to wait one year after the transplant before they can make contact with each other.
That’s when Ryals decided to reach out to Skye’s family.
After exchanging several messages, Ryals asked Skye to be the flower girl on her third birthday.
Skye received a clean bill of health and made the trip to Alabama to meet the woman who saved her life.
At the wedding rehearsal, Syke and Ryals embraced for the very first time, according to ABC.
“I walked up and I just dropped to my knees and all I could do was smile,” Ryals said.
The two families say they are looking forward to seeing each other again soon.
“They are going to be part of our lives forever,” Savren-McCormick said. “She saved our daughter's life.”