Bone marrow recipient says Facebook saved his life

Huw Willams of Ottawa had leukemia. Mike Hogman of Vancouver was a bone marrow match. Facebook brought them together.

Huw Williams says Facebook helped save his life.

Williams was at the Pearson International Airport arrivals gate Thursday evening waiting to meet British Columbia native Mike Hogman — the man whose bone marrow saved him from leukemia.

Hogman, 23, says he registered with OneMatch in 2009 when he saw a link to the stem cell registry on the popular social networking site.

"It was just kind of one of those things you do, kind of like when you sign up for organ donation... one of those things you do and you just don't think about it," he said.

There were hugs and smiles as the pair met for the first time at the Toronto airport. Williams' sister's eyes welled up with tears and threw her arms around Hogman as she thanked him for saving her brother's life.

"It's been an emotional journey to have your brother facing death and then to be saved by a wonderful person like Mike," said Sian Williams.

Huw Williams, who lives in Ottawa, was running out of options after doctors had diagnosed him with terminal leukemia in 2008.

He wasn't responding to the series of drugs he had been given and none of his family members were a bone marrow match.

Both Williams and Hogman said the meeting was overwhelming.

"How do you say thank you to someone who saved your life? It's a pretty unusual circumstance," Williams said. "As dramatic as it sounds, I was just hanging off the edge of a cliff and he literally saved me."

With files from CBC's Lorenda Reddekopp