Tulane Football player saves a life



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NEW ORLEANS - A Tulane football player showed us the definition of compassion with more than just his words.

There's over 75,000 college football players in America. They lace up everyday for practice, perfect their position drills and study the game religiously.

But very few have donated bone marrow to save a strangers life. Tulane's center, Christian Montano is one of them.

"Three of my four grandparents passed away from cancer" Christian Montano told us. "So, I mean, it's really close to my family and I miss them all every single day and to be able to help someone that I know was sick, and in their position at one point-- it meant the world to me and my family."

As a freshman at Brown University, Christian signed up for a program called Be The Match to become a potential bone marrow donor. There was only a two percent chance he'd be selected.

"I never thought anything would come of it and then three years later, I got a phone call for an opportunity to help someone."

That special someone was Jim Calhoun who was diagnosed with leukemia.

One year after the successful surgery, Christian and Jim finally met and a lifetime bond was born.

"To feel the emotion between he and his wife and how thankful she was, was amazing" Christian said. "She said 'you gave me my husband back' and him saying 'thank you for letting me see my kids again' and he said 'you literally saved my life.'"

Jim says, since the bone marrow transplant, there hasn't been a trace of cancer.

"I'm 18 months now" Jim Calhoun said. "The other day and, you know, I just keep truckin' along and do what I'm supposed to do and listen to the doctors!"

When WGNO asked Christian if he'd do it again, his answer was simple: "100 percent! Without a second of hesitation. Especially now, knowing how well it went for he and his family-- I would do it in a heartbeat."

Christian says he'd love to bring  Be The Match to Tulane in the near future.



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