MARSHALL, Ill. (WAWV/WTWO) – A young Illinois woman welcomed the man that saved her life from across the world into her hometown.

Stem cell recipient 21-year-old Taylor Mason has had anything but a normal life, at 15-years-old she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After months of treatment and remission the leukemia came back when she was 17.

“They told me I needed a stem cell transplant so I did pre chemo, IVF fertility, and then I did a stem cell transplant,” Mason said. “All I was told is that it was from a donor in Europe.”

Around the same time Stem cell donor Daniel Riedinger of Germany just happened to sign up to be a donor. After many tests he was notified he would be the best possible donor for Mason’s transplant, who he did not know at the time.

“I was registered and I knew there was someone that needed my stem cells who would not survive without them,” Riedinger said. “It was not a question for me.”

Mason had to wait two years in the registry and once she was well enough after her transplant she reached out to Riedinger.

“I thought about what ones says and what one does for the person that saves your life for awhile,” Mason said. “Simply just hugging them and meeting them and knowing they are the reason your here is everything.”

Mason visited Riedinger in Germany last year however, this is Riedinger’s first time in Mason’s hometown. Friends and family of Mason gathered at the Marshall VFW to meet Riedinger.

“I now have a new sister and a new family,” Riedinger said. “I can’t explain it’s unbelievable.”

Mason said Riedinger has become a huge part of her life.

“He’s a big part of our lives now I mean every holiday we contact him or he contacts,” Mason said. “We are family I mean we are literally blood now.”

Both Riedinger and Mason encourage those considering stem cell donation to sign up.