Connor and Thomas


"My name is Connor Cerato, I am 27 years old, and I am a hematopoietic stem cell donor. My story begins in October of 2020 when my father Dr. Thomas Cerato D.O. was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Myeloma (a white blood cell malignancy). At that time, my family’s life was filled with uncertainty and fear of the future. My father was given the opportunity to engage in a cutting-edge form of potentially curative treatment known as an allogeneic stem cell transplant where an individuals bone marrow is replaced entirely by that of stem cell donor.

Growing up in a medical family I was raised to believe that organ/tissue donation was an honorable endeavor to undertake; a gift of self to contribute to the quality of life of another human being. I hoped that if I was ever presented with the choice to become an organ donor, that I would have the courage to do so. When the time came to assemble potential stem cell donors for my father, it was almost instinctual to volunteer myself to see if I could be a potential match for him. After testing multiple family members and exhausting the stem cell donor database, we learned that I was the best match for my dad. I discovered then that the most difficult part of being a donor was mustering the courage and strength to endure the invasive procedures and unpleasant side effects that accompany donation. I found my courage and strength by reflecting not only upon my father’s terminal diagnosis and the idea of life without him, but also reflecting on the multitude of others before me who had sacrificed parts of themselves for their fathers, sons, and even strangers. With their example of courage and the love I have for my father, I found strength and we completed the stem cell transplant in June 2021.

The stories of those like my father conjure relentless bravery and unwavering hope in the face of grim and dire circumstances. Since the completion of the transplant, my relationship with my father has matured to a plane that few others have the opportunity to experience. A beautiful relationship born from adversity, sacrifice, and perseverance. My story of hope ends with a statement of encouragement to all of those presented with the opportunity to participate in organ donation. Embrace the opportunity to show benevolence to those in need of help with open arms, you will discover that through sacrifice and hardship, a new chapter of the future, which would otherwise be closed forever, is born.

Thank you to the Colby Foundation for the opportunity to share my Father and I’s story."

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