[Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer/via Cleveland.com]
Jeff Romanoff of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania was given a lifeline from a fellow Stormtooper. Romanoff, 41, has genetic disease Von Hippel-Lindau which caused him to lose his right kidney to tumors and his left kidney was failing. When a group of Star Wars costuming groups found out that Romanoff needed a kidney, they immediately started checking to see if they were a match.
Eric Seeman (TK 4619 of Garrison Empire City of the 501st Legion) found out that he was a perfect match for Romanoff (TK 076 of Garrison Carida in Philadelphia). Surgical Director Dr. David Goldfarb of the Cleveland Clinic was in charge of the transplant. The surgery was performed on April 3, took 8 hours, and Romanoff left the hospital cancer-free.
Seeman said that the months of testing was well worth it because he knew he made a difference the day he found out Romanoff’s visible cancer was removed. The 501st Legion helped pay for Seeman’s travel from Philadelphia to Cleveland Clinic.
The 501st Legion promotes the Star Wars movie and give back to the community. Romanoff himself joined in 1999 when he first put on a Stormtrooper costume. Seeman joined in 2007 when Romanoff’s garrison was in New York City raising money for Albin Johnson, the daughter of the 501st Legion’s founder.
“He saved my life,” stated Romanoff in regards to Seemann. “I’m completely cancer-free and I have a brand new kidney. There aren’t many words that can describe what he’s done for me.”
The picture above is Romanoff giving Darth Vader (played by Mark Gau) a big hug.