Bride shares special dance with man who saved her from cancer

There wasn't a dry eye during a Minnesota wedding earlier this month when one bride shared a special dance with the man whose bone marrow donation saved her life from cancer.

Bride Greta Hokanson shares special dance with Danny Daniels who saved her from cancer. Photo: Phodot Photography

Bride Greta Hokanson shares special dance with Danny Daniels who saved her from cancer. Photo: Phodot Photography

During the dance, "I was overcome with emotion, happy emotion, of course," Greta Hokanson, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, told ABC News.

"[I'm] so unbelievably grateful for the gift of life he gave me. There is nothing better. He is a real life hero doing a completely selfless act for me, a stranger."

Hokanson, 24, said she'll never forget the date Sept 1 2006, the day she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Greta and the man who saved her life. Photo: Phodot Photography

"Of course I was terrified at first," she said.

"However, I decided that I wasn't going to let cancer define me. I was determined. I was always going to beat it."

After the opinions of several doctors, Hokanson said she and her parents agreed that a bone marrow transplant was her best hope for survival.

"My two older sisters were immediately tested to see if they were a match and they weren't," she said.

Greta Hokanson. Photo: Good Morning America

"My parents were also tested and they weren't either. The national registry was then searched, and we learned there was a 44-year-old man from Arkansas who was a perfect match."

That man was Danny Daniels, who, at the time, was serving in the Air Force National Guard and stationed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Daniels told ABC News that he gave bone marrow at a drive following the cancer diagnosis of a fellow member of the military.

Ten years later, Daniels said he was contacted by his donor program, which later determined that his bone marrow was a perfect match for Hokanson, who on March 14, 2007, underwent the grueling, yet successful procedure at the University of Minnesota.

Greta and her husband. Photo: Phodot Photography

One year after the transplant, both Hokanson and Daniels agreed to meet near his military base.

"She said, 'Thank you. There's no way that I can ever repay you for this,'" Daniels of Barling, Arkansas, recalled.

"My comment to her was, 'There's no repayment necessary. There are no thank you's necessary. I just want you to have as normal life as possible.'"


The two stayed in touch over the years via Facebook until Hokanson invited Daniels and his wife to her October 10 wedding along with a special request.

"I knew I wanted to somehow celebrate and honor what he did for me and when speaking with the DJ, he suggested a dance," Hokanson said.

"I immediately fell in love with the idea. I then asked Danny, who replied 'I would be honored.'"

Hokanson and Daniels danced to "Angels Among Us" by Alabama among the 260 guests gathered at the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Daniels said he was more than willing to celebrate his bond with the bride.

"She is a very sweet person and I'm so honored that she was the one that received my bone marrow," he said.

"She's a great young lady and she's making the best of her life. To be honoured with the dance was very special to me."

Hokanson said she hopes her story promotes bone marrow donations for "Be the Match"- the organization that connects donors to patients in need of transplants.

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