Dodger fan donates bone marrow to save Giant fan’s life with transplant

The Dodgers-Giants rivalry is one of sports’ most storied, so heated that it seems the fans are usually more passionate in their hatred than the players.

And while that passion has led to some ugly incidents involving Giants and Dodgers fans in recent years, what an older Dodgers fan recently did for a young, ailing Giants fan was so amazing, it turned the intrastate rivalry into a bicoastal tale of compassion, and showed the world that no sports differences are too great to undo the humanity we all share.

Joey Hilburn is a Dodgers fan living in Charlotte, NC. Years ago, he entered himself into the national bone marrow registry. Recently, Ryan Clanton, a young Giants fan living in California’s San Joaquin Valley, was diagnosed with Fabconi Anemia, a bone-marrow disease which if not treated with a transplant, leads to death.

One day Hilburn received a letter that he matched a transplant candidate — apparently matching on all 14 markers for the disease, reportedly extremely rare for unrelated people.

“There are 14 different markers that they’re looking for, as far as matching. They’re hoping for seven — seven is good. We were a perfect match. It was 14 out of 14,” Hilburn told WGHP FOX 8 in North Carolina.

It was a godsend. Joey donated his bone marrow, and Ryan received the transplant.

“It was very difficult on us," mom Luanna Clanton told WGHP. "Your whole world is, suddenly, feels like it’s coming to an end and you’re dependent on hoping that there is somebody that you don’t know, out there, who will be willing to go through the process and help save your child’s life."

But the story didn’t end there. For what happened in the following days, and what has happened since, watch the report from WGHP.

Note: If the video does not play below, click here.