Thank you: Survivor Mr Rofix, left, meets
bone marrow donor Mr Hall for the first time
It's not every day you get to save the life of a total stranger, but that is exactly what happened to a 43-year-old carpenter from the Fens.
Matthew Hall, from Three Holes, near Wisbech, made a bone marrow donation to save the life of leukaemia sufferer Oliver Rofix and now the pair have enjoyed an emotional meeting.
Mr Rofix from Woodbridge, Suffolk, was just 20 years old he was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukaemia that left him needing a bone marrow transplant for any chance of survival.
Out of the nine million people registered for donation with the Anthony Nolan Trust, there were just two tissue matches. One was in America. The other was Mr Hall.
Mr Rofix received the treatment he so desperately needed just three days after his 21st birthday and is now in remission. On Saturday, he finally came face to face with Mr Hall at Suffolk Yacht Harbour in Levington, near Ipswich,
“I was only the third known person in the world to be diagnosed with this form of leukaemia and the other two had died,” said Mr Rofix, now 24.
“To find someone out of nine million people, who also lived so close, was very lucky.
“It's great to finally meet Matthew. We had already swapped a few Christmas cards and sent e-mails to one another, but that was it. I'd never even seen a picture of him - I wanted to be completely in the dark.
“The Anthony Nolan Trust can arrange contact between a patient and donor - but only after two years. After that I had to make the first move.
“It was an important thing for me to do. I can't express my thanks enough because he really has saved my life.”
Mr Hall, 43, who joined the Anthony Nolan register in 1995, was called to a Harley Street clinic for a medical.
And becoming a donor is not quite as painful as people expect - 80pc of tests can now be done through a process similar to giving blood.
Mr Hall and his wife Karen joined the register in 1995 after an appeal for a woman who worked in their local take-away. Sadly no match was found for her and she died, leaving a young family.
“When I knew I could actually help someone, there was no way I was going to say no. I was only in hospital for three days and two nights. I was treated extremely well,” said Mr Hall.
“There was a little bit of pain, but it wasn't unbearable. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I'd have no worries. I'd encourage anyone to join up. It's incredibly easy to do.”
Next year, Mr Rofix will be sailing around Great Britain in a bid to raise awareness and support of the Anthony Nolan Trust, and also try and inspire others who have been seriously ill.
“It's very hard for people who come out of treatment to get their confidence back,” he said. “I want to show people that they can still go out there and do what they want to do.”
quote taken from
Oliver's own website
"My name is Oliver Rofix and I am lucky enough to have survived LEUKAEMIA. I wouldn't be here without my donor and the support of family, friends and the various organisations dedicated to defeating this terrible illness.
Oliver is also looking for sponsors for his voyage awareness to Anthony Nolan trust to beat leukaemia
Now I want to give something back!
To raise awareness and more importantly, funds, for The Anthony Nolan Trust because without a donor I would not be here today.
I will also be acknowledging two other charities, which are CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust. It is through these two charities that I have met some very close friends at events which they have held.
How am I going to do it ?
By sailing the boat (a Valiant 18) that I bought just before my transplant, (Jolly Olly), around the coastline of Britain in 2011. The voyage will take approx 16 weeks and I will be sailing round the top of Scotland. Stopping every night if possible at a harbour to raise awareness through local media of what I am doing; I am also hoping to meet other young people who have been affected by cancer.
My planned Departure Date is May 2nd 2011
I will also be undertaking a shorter voyage from Ipswich to Cowes and around the Isle of Wight in July/August 2010 and taking the boat to local fund raising events whilst sailing as much as I can to prepare the boat and myself for the round Britain voyage." Anthony Nolan Trust
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