Don Bouvet wore a suit for the second time in his life Friday, when he visited the White House to meet with the man he credits for saving his life: President Donald Trump.
Last year, Bouvet said he couldn’t afford the chemotherapy he needed to treat his bladder cancer. But more than a year after Trump gave his family $10,000, Bouvet says he’s cancer-free.
“The president saved my life,” Bouvet said during the emotional Oval Office meeting. “And I told him that.”
Bouvet’s son, Shane Bouvet, worked with Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 by day while holding down a job as a delivery man by night.
The Republican reportedly met with president-elect Trump the night before the inauguration and shared his father’s health and financial struggles.
“His father, Donald,” Trump said Friday about what Shane Bouvet told him, “was suffering and really on a pretty final path towards losing his life.”
After his January meeting with Trump, Shane Bouvet returned to his hometown of Stonington, Illinois, with a population of about 930. Then, he got a check in the mail.
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It was a personal check worth $10,000 from Trump, he said.
“Shane — You are a great guy — thanks for all of your help,” Trump reportedly wrote on presidential stationery.
Shane Bouvet told NBC4 he gave the entire sum to his father, who used it to pay the deductible on the treatment.
Now cancer-free, Don Bouvet got his own chance Friday to meet Trump, who was impressed that Shane gave all the money to his dad.
“You didn’t have anything,” Trump said to Shane. “And you gave all of it. ... That's an incredible son.”
"It's very emotional because ... one day I wanted to come here, or meet you somewhere, shake your hand, look you in the eye, and say, 'Thank you for saving my life,'" Don Bouvet told the president. "And I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Trump was apparently so impressed that he gave the Bouvets another check for $5,000, Shane told NBC4.
The Bouvets also left with another, possibly priceless, souvenir: a plaque with a note personally signed by Trump that reads, “To Shane, Great Going!”
The Bouvets said that Trump donated his personal money, which campaign finance experts told NBC4 complies with all relevant laws.