Buffalo Brothers Share Similar Story of ABC's Robin Roberts

February 23, 2013 Updated Feb 23, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

February 23, 2013 Updated Feb 23, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT


Frank Pacella, Producer of AM Buffalo and his older brother Sam chatted over a cup of espresso Friday night.

The two brothers are 19 years apart. In fact, little Frank was just four years old when he served as ring bearer in his older brother's wedding back in 1967.

Little did Frank know years later he'd play another important role in his brother's life, donating his bone marrow to give Sam a chance at surviving Lukemia.

"When he asked me there was no question in my mind that I would step up and do this for him," said Frank.

Sam's diagnosis came in April of 2012 about four years after their other brother Tony died from Lou Gehrig's disease.

"Unfortunately, there was no hope for him (Tony). We learned of his disease and sadly there was nothing we could do other than comfort him and watch him deteriorate. But with Sam there was a chance, there was hope and I was that chance," Frank explained.

It was a once in a lifetime chance for Sam.

Even though the brothers share the same biological mother and father, there was still only a 25 percent chance that Frank's stem cells would have all six traits necessary to give Sam the best odds after his transplant.

Turned out Frank was a perfect match and the two began the grueling procedure last October.

"A nurse came into my room with a picnic cooler and two of these bags of stem cells from him (Frank), fresh," said Sam.

The transplant was a success and Sam is now past the critical 100 day period where doctors monitored him around the clock, but he's been warned to pay attention to key signs of his body rejecting the cells. So far he's been okay.

Frank is also back to normal, producing AM Buffalo with his sacrifice never far from his mind. He now shares an even closer bond with his big brother.

"How can I forget his actions? His blood cells saved my life," said Sam.

Sam gave Frank a free vacation to the Dominican Republic as a way to say thank you. The procedure was tough on Frank, there was a chance of heart attack and other illnesses but both brothers are doing okay.