Skip To Content

    A Bride Shared A Special Wedding Dance With The Man Who Saved Her Life

    The gift of life never stops giving.

    When newlywed Greta Hokanson was 16, getting married was anything but a guarantee. She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, and the only cure was a bone marrow transplant.

    Courtesy of Greta Hokanson

    It's an intense, risky surgery, and on top of that, neither of her two sisters were a match.

    After joining the bone marrow registry, she discovered that a 44-year-old man from Arkansas was one of her matches. She decided to go for the surgery, only knowing that he was "a big hero," Hokanson told BuzzFeed Life.

    The surgery was a success, and one year later, Hokanson and her donor, Danny Daniels, met in person.

    Courtesy of Greta Hokanson

    The Minnesota-based Hokanson and her family headed to a softball game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they met the man who saved her life.

    "A year after the operation, if both parties want to, you can decide to meet," Hokanson said. "Before I met him, he was this amazing man who gave his bone marrow to me without knowing anything about me. It was incredible seeing him standing right there in front of me."

    When she married Tony Hokanson on Oct. 10, she was joined by 260 friends and family — and her donor.

    Phodot Photography / Via phodot.com

    Though they'd only met the one time, they kept in touch through Facebook and email, and his presence at her wedding was important to Hokanson.

    "When we were making our guest list, I told my mom that I really wanted to invite Danny and Angie, his wife,” Hokanson said. HThey sent the invitation, not expecting Daniels, an Air National Guard member who's currently stationed in Arizona, to make it.

    "I had an online RSVP system, and when I got his response with the message, 'We can’t wait to see you!' my jaw dropped to the floor," Hokanson said. “I got tears in my eyes, and I called Tony, who was so excited because he'd never met Danny. Only me and my parents had. I really couldn’t believe it."

    Having Daniels in attendance was just the beginning; they also shared a special dance during the reception.

    Phodot Photography / Via phodot.com

    Hokanson's DJ suggested that she honor Daniels with the dance, and she jumped at the chance. As "Angels Among Us" by Alabama played, they got a chance to catch up.

    "I had only seen him during [the] receiving line, so it was our first chance to talk," Hokanson said. "I gave him my thanks again and I got really emotional. I can’t get over what his selfless act means."

    There wasn't a dry eye in the house during the dance, which was a surprise for all of the guests.

    Phodot Photography / Via phodot.com

    Hokanson still deals with some after-effects of leukemia, like joint pain and fatigue, but her harrowing experience did leave a positive effect on her life: it encouraged her to change her career path from teaching to medicine.

    Now a nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul, she said that the nurses who cared for her while she was sick inspired her.

    For Daniels, the best part of the day was seeing Hokanson live the normal life he hoped she would have.

    "I was very proud at the wedding, just like a father would be," he told BuzzFeed Life. "It felt like my own daughter getting married."