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N.Y. firefighter remembered who saved girl's life

From Jason Bellini

NEW YORK (CNN) -- After seven weeks, New York firefighter Terry Farrell's body was found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. His children had a coffin to salute.

And another special person in Farrell's life was able to leave a flower on his grave.

Nevada resident Chantyl Peterson, 14, is alive because of Farrell, her family said. He saved her -- not from a fire but from T-cell lymphoma, a terminal illness.

Farrell had his bone marrow tested in 1993, and a national databank identified Chantyl as a perfect match.

"He didn't just save her life," said Chantyl's mother, Sheri Peterson. "He gave her life."

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Chantyl's hero, the man who didn't hesitate to undergo painful surgery for a girl he didn't know, became a part of her life. She never expected to have to let go so soon.

She met him when she was 6, and the plan was to hold a reunion between their families every five years. She shared lunch with him at the World Trade Center when she was 11.

Farrell was a member of Rescue 4 in Queens, one of nine from the unit who lost their lives in the September 11 terrorist attacks. His co-workers described him as a quiet man -- burly but also gentle.

His funeral last week brought together the many people whose lives he touched over the years.

Chantyl, her parents said, was devastated when she heard Farrell was missing in the rubble. But she held out hope up until his body was found.

"We just sat her down and told her that they had found Terry," her father, Bob Peterson, said.

Chantyl's parents said they decided to take their daughter to Farrell's funeral to share in the grief with Farrell's children.

"I had to think back -- now are they my friends or are they my brother and sister?" Chantyl said. "This was our blessing being bonded and meeting Terry's family."


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