A FATHER has donated bone marrow to save a life – eight years after he first offered to be a donor.
Andrew Ewens was only 23 when he was moved by the plight of four Hampshire brothers who desperately needed transplants to live.
Along with thousands of others the engineer from Hayling Island was spurred into donating his bone marrow to help the young Hartley boys, from Romsey.
Although he was not a match then, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan kept his records.
And and in November, they called to say he was a potential match with someone else.
Now 33 and a father of two, he didn’t hesitate to make a donation.
And in January Andrew, of Chandlers Close, spent six hours hooked up to a machine which took 6.5-million red and white cells and plasma.
He said: ‘When I read about the four boys in The News I felt so sorry for them. I’d always been a blood donor so this was one step further.
‘I was so excited when eight years later I heard I was a match for someone.
‘I knew that for whoever I was helping, this was their last chance of survival – but I could give them that chance.
‘The donation itself was completely pain and stress-free – knowing I was helping to save someone’s life was a fantastic experience.
‘Now I want to help raise awareness for Anthony Nolan, because I want more people to understand that stem cell donation is not painful or time-consuming, but actually the most incredible feeling you’ll ever experience.’
Strict confidentiality laws mean Andrew was not told the name of the recipient but he knows they are male.
Andrew added: ‘At every stage the brilliant nurse with me told me what was happening.
‘It must be used within 72 hours and there was a courier waiting outside for it.
‘It’s an incredible feeling knowing in just a few hours your blood cells are going to help someone.’
The Hartley boys were all found matches and underwent transplants.
Donations are urgently needed from men aged 18 to 30.
To register go to anthonynolan.org.