Spring Valley man makes a life-saving donation - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Spring Valley man makes a life-saving donation

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GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (KTTC) --  He's a husband. He's a father. He's a veteran. Dave Thouin is a brother.

Dave says of his brother, "He and I are so close, I've known him all his life. I wanted to grow up to be a cowboy. And I was the sidekick. Ya he was the sidekick."

Dick Thouin is a dentist and a lover of art. He's also a survivor.

Dick says, "I just had to put reality a little bit on hold. I just had to go with the flow and not think too much about what was happening cause it would be overwhelming."

Memory...

"We'd climb out the bedroom window, run over to Mrs. Gazelca and we'd get cookie from them."

after memory...

Dave explains, "This is us out at Swan Lake. We used to go out there every weekend until I was in the Navy. We'd spend time out there."

It's always been Dave and Dick.

Dave says, "It's just simple stuff that we do together. You know we're the best of friends."

Dave may have to travel all the way to the Iron Range to visit his brother but after how far they've already come a drive like this is a welcome challenge.

Dick was diagnosed with Leukemia in the Spring of 2011. After rounds of chemo and radiation, doctors decided he needed a stem cell transplant. After years on the bone marrow registry Dave was finally match.

Dave says, "Little did I know I'd be called on to save Dick's life."

Without hesitation, Dave started preparing for the transplant. Dick was in the hospital for a total of about eight months. Many of those days are etched in his memory just as vividly as the art he works on in his basement.

Dick says, "Whatever was on tap for the day, I just went ahead and did it."

He's still brought to tears as he recalls many of those days spent inside the hospital walls. One memory hits him especially hard when he thinks about a walk he took to the veterans memorial.

Dick explains, "All the veterans and their headstones and Dave being a veteran it just got right to my heart."

Things turned around early in November of 2012 when Dick finally received the transplant.

Dave says, "Other than my marriage and the birth of my two boys, this is the biggest accomplishment of my life."

Bone marrow donation is now something Dave is passionate about.

He explains, "The high point is it worked. We saved his life. We're kicking butt. There's nothing more gratifying and satisfying than saving his life."

Dick says, "You're my hero Dave."

At least as they take the next steps, it's something they can laugh about, saying there's no more Dave and Dick but just Big Dave and Little Dave.

For more information on bone marrow donation click here.

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