Aunt Lucille would be proud.
A Texas man has another day with his three children thanks to the big heart and giving spirit of an FDNY firefighter who gave him his stem cells — all because someone made a similar life saving donation to the firefighter’s aunt Lucille decades ago.
“My main drive for doing this was my Aunt Lucille,” Firefighter Robert Paolillo, 29, told the Daily News as he prepared to meet the recipient of his stem cells, Jeff Faller, during a special FDNY ceremony at FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn on Thursday. “She died of leukemia when I was a lot younger, but I remember that someone had donated some bone marrow to her in an attempt to save her life and it was successful.”
The anonymous donation helped to extend Paolillo’s aunt’s life considerably, he remembered. His father’s sister ultimately died of a pneumonia her weakened immune system couldn’t fight.
Despite this, Paolillo remembered how a complete stranger gave his aunt a second shot at life.
“I thought it was great that someone who had no idea who she was and whose life didn’t affect hers did this out of the goodness of his heart,” he remembered. “I knew when I was old enough, I was going to sign up.”