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On fatherhood, full circles—and the power of paying it forward

Rob, transplant recipient, alongside his son, Michael, who donated blood stem cells to a patient in need.

Rob Moser battled Hodgkin lymphoma three times between 1997 and 2003. He ultimately won, thanks to a selfless donor and blood stem cell transplant facilitated by Be The Match®. Rob’s second chance at life, and fatherhood, has inspired him to generously give back to Be The Match and help find more donors. But he never dreamed that one day, one of those donors would be his own son.

Fatherhood, interrupted 

In 1997 Rob became the proud father of his newborn baby girl. Tragically, a dark shadow swooped in that very same week: cancer. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that forms in the lymph nodes.

A couple years later, Rob received his first transplant using his own blood stem cells (called an autologous transplant). This took place just two weeks after his son Michael was born. Unfortunately, it failed to keep the cancer away.

When cancer came back for the third time, they looked to the Be The Match Registry® in hopes of finding a matching unrelated donor. Fortunately, they found a match. “When they told me I had a match I remember it like it was in slow motion,” Rob says of this moment. “There was so much relief.”

In April 2003 he received his blood stem cell transplant. Rob has now been healthy and cancer-free for 20 years. “Every April I tell my kids the story of how I was able to be a dad, because of my donor and Be The Match,” says Rob. “Without them, my kids would have very little, if any, memory of me.”

Full-circle moment

Rob’s son Michael was only a few years old when his dad received that life-saving transplant. Fast forward about 15 years, Michael was a first-year student in college and old enough to join the registry. And that’s exactly what he did after seeing a Be The Match table set up in the dining hall. 

Just a couple years later he received wonderful news: it was confirmed that he was the #1 match for a patient. “I called my dad immediately and let him know,” says Michael, recalling that special day. In March of this year Michael donated his blood stem cells to that stranger in need. 

“I saw it as I have this awesome opportunity,” he says. “I didn’t even think twice about it.”

In reflecting on his son’s decision to donate, Rob says it was the proudest he’s ever been of his son. “What accomplishment is better than saving someone’s life? There’s no fuller way to live life than to save another’s.”

Giving back to save more lives

Rob is incredibly grateful for the gift of life he received, which allowed him to watch his children grow up and be the father he wanted to be. He has dedicated his efforts to helping give others a second chance at life, too. 

Rob has sponsored multiple registry drives, resulting in hundreds of people signing up for the registry. He has also made generous financial gifts to Be The Match, which helps add more potential donors to the registry, remove financial barriers for patients struggling to afford transplant, and fund groundbreaking research to improve transplant outcomes.

“Be The Match benefits babies and older people and all walks of life. It’s just amazing,” says Rob.

You can make a difference in someone’s life, too. Learn more about joining the Be The Match Registry, donating financially, or finding more ways you can support our cause.