A young cancer survivor on Wednesday came face to face with the New York firefighter who saved her life.
Five years ago, Firefighter Doug Chiz donated his bone marrow to a teenager he had never met, Angela Rugh from Pennsylvannia. That allowed her to beat Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I'm just extremely thankful. From the bottom of my heart," Angela said. "Words are hard to describe the thanks and gratitude that I have for him."
When he first joined the FDNY, Chiz signed on to the department's bone marrow registry on his drill instructor's urging.
Just a few months later he got a call that he was a match for Angela, who was then just 17.
"After five years I never thought day would come," Chiz said. "I had always in the back of my mind hoped for the best and to now know she is doing well, it's a great feeling."
When Angela needed another operation in 2011, the family again turned to the hero firefighter, who donated his stem cells. He again proved you don't need to run into a burning building to save a life.
Chiz is in good company. Another firefighter from Ladder 136 in Queens, Scott Anaselli, gave life-saving bone marrow to Merritt Navazio. Anaselli was at Navazio's wedding.
Firefighter Cody Baker's bone marrow is the reason Rick Smalley from Texas is alive today.
Firefighter chiz said donating bone marrow caused some discomfort but the reward is well worth it.
"I would absolutely do it again," he said. "I would urge everyone to join the registry. You can make a difference."
The FDNY makes up 10 percent of the New York Blood Center's donations. This is a beautiful example of how those donations pay off.