On her wedding day, Greta Perske got to dance not only with the love of her life, but also with the man who saved it.
The 24-year-old from Sartell married Tony Hokanson in her home town on Oct. 10, the St. Cloud Times reports, and present at the ceremony was a very special guest.
Perske had only met 51-year-old Danny Daniels, a military veteran from Arkansas, once before. But when they took to the dance floor later that evening it was a particularly poignant moment.
In 2007, Daniels had made a bone marrow donation that saved Perske's life, the year after she had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Her mother, Jan Perske, told the story on the Be a Hero, Become a Donor Foundation Facebook page earlier this month.
She said that Danny made the donation in the hopes of saving the life of one of his fellow soldiers, but it instead proved to be a match for her daughter, who in 2006 had been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia at the age of just 15.
The Perskes had been told that Greta's "only hope" of survival was a bone marrow transplant, and the odds were against them given that none of her family members proved to be a match.
Instead that came through Daniels, then 44, who had donated to the Bone Marrow Registry. When he found out Perske was a match, he called the family and said: "I have spent my whole life saving lives in the military. How could I not save the life of a 15-year-old girl with leukemia?"
It took several months for Perske's body to accept the bone marrow, but it eventually took and she's gone on to lead a full life, working as a registered nurse in the Minneapolis area.
"We have met Danny and consider him an important member of her family," Jan Perske wrote. "his gift not only saved Greta's life, it saved all of our lives."
"We are forever indebted and grateful to Danny and the Bone Marrow Registry."
Speaking to the St. Cloud Times, Greta Perske said: "I can’t even describe what that feeling is. There's the man who saved my life, standing right in front of me.
"He didn't have to do what he did, but he did."
Daniels, who was given a standing ovation when introduced to the wedding party, added: "It was special for me too. I'm just very humbled that it worked out as well as it did for her."