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Iowa cancer survivor invites donor who saved his life to be his best man: 'Am here because of him'

No good deed goes unseen, especially one that involves saving a life. It is the best thing you can do for someone and Jan Rolfes selflessly did it.

Iowa cancer survivor invites donor who saved his life to be his best man: 'Am here because of him'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | KTIV News 4

In 2010, ten years before meeting the love of his life, Ben Clark received a life-altering diagnosis: T-cell lymphoblastic Lymphoma which is a rare and aggressive blood cancer. However, little did he know that his fight against cancer would lead to a remarkable connection with a stranger named Jan Rolfes from across the world who would later become the best man at his wedding, reported KTIV News4. After undergoing treatment and experiencing a brief period of remission, the cancer returned, leaving him in need of a stem cell transplant to save his life.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Thirdman
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Thirdman

Clark's quest for a suitable donor led him to partner with DKMS, an international nonprofit bone marrow donor center based in Germany. The organization operates globally and works tirelessly to match donors with patients in need. Thousands of miles away in Sweden, Jan Rolfes had always carried the importance of becoming a stem cell donor close to his heart. His determination was rooted in a personal experience - when he was just eight years old, a family friend of his was diagnosed with Leukemia. Tragically, despite their efforts, the friend did not survive. This heartbreaking event left an indelible mark on Rolfes, inspiring him to become a donor himself. It was fate that brought Ben Clark and Jan Rolfes together. After being on the registry for two years, Rolfes received a call that would change both his and Clark's lives. Ben Clark needed his stem cells to combat the aggressive lymphoma.



Without hesitation, Rolfes agreed to be the lifesaving donor. As Clark was in the midst of planning his wedding, he and his future wife, Jayme Clark, had a shared dream - to invite and meet the man who had saved Ben's life. They separately reached out to Rolfes, not knowing the other was also trying to make this dream a reality. The bond between Clark and Rolfes began to form through a series of emails exchanged in an effort to bring Rolfes to their wedding in Iowa. The initial plan was simply to have Rolfes attend the wedding as a guest. However, Clark soon realized that Rolfes was more than just a donor - he was the best man for the job. What better way to honor the man who had given him a second chance at life than by having him stand by his side on the most special day of his life?

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kirill Dratsevich
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kirill Dratsevich

Rolfes graciously accepted the role of best man and as a result, Ben and Jan's bond deepened, transcending the miles that separated them. Their connection was more than just a donor-patient relationship; it was a profound friendship forged through the selflessness and generosity of one individual saving another's life. Ben and Jayme Clark's wedding day was a celebration of life and an opportunity to inspire others to become stem cell donors. They used this special occasion to register all their guests as potential donors, advocating for the importance of joining the registry. Their wedding became a symbol of hope, unity and the incredible potential for humanity to come together to save lives.


The story of Ben Clark and Jan Rolfes serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of generosity. The unbreakable bond that formed between a cancer survivor and his donor exemplifies the extraordinary possibilities that emerge when we extend a helping hand to those in need. In the end, Clark's decision to make Rolfes his best man was a heartfelt gesture that not only honored his savior but also showcased the strength of human connection in the face of adversity. The extraordinary story of their journey from patient and donor to lifelong friends exemplifies the profound and lasting impact that acts of kindness and generosity can have on our lives.

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