Bride Shares Special Dance With Man Who Saved Her From Cancer

PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, MN had a special wedding dance with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation.Phodot Photography
Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. had a special wedding dance on Oct. 10, 2015 with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation.

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

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.

PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation after Hokanson was diagnosed with leukemia in Sept., 2006.Greta Hokanson
PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation after Hokanson was diagnosed with leukemia in Sept., 2006.

"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. "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.

PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. pictured at her wedding on Oct. 10, 2015, with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation in 2007. Phodot Photography
PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. pictured at her wedding on Oct. 10, 2015, with Danny Daniels, the man who saved her life with his bone marrow donation in 2007.

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.

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 Oct. 10 wedding along with a special request.

PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. pictured with her husband Tony Hokanson on Oct. 10, 2015, their wedding day, . Honkanson was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 1, 2006 but received a bone marrow transplant in 2007. Phodot Photography
PHOTO:Greta Hokanson of Minnetonka, Minn. pictured with her husband Tony Hokanson on Oct. 10, 2015, their wedding day, . Honkanson was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 1, 2006 but received a bone marrow transplant in 2007.

"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 honored 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.