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Suffolk man's gift of life

PUBLISHED: 05:28 20 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

A SUFFOLK man has given a toddler the chance to live after donating bone marrow in a quick operation.

Ben Smith, 35, of Fernhill Close, off Bury Hill, Woodbridge, has been on the Anthony Nolan Trust's register of willing donors for four years and he came to the rescue of an unidentified boy.

A SUFFOLK man has given a toddler the chance to live after donating bone marrow in a quick operation.

Ben Smith, 35, of Fernhill Close, off Bury Hill, Woodbridge, has been on the Anthony Nolan Trust's register of willing donors for four years and he came to the rescue of an unidentified boy.

Mr Smith, a delivery manager with BT at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath, said: ''As a father I can only imagine what the parents of a child with leukaemia must be going through. I suppose all of us think, 'there by the grace of God', so to be able to do something about it has literally been one of the most rewarding things I have done or could imagine doing.

''The operation itself only lasted for 10 minutes, though it did need to be performed under a general anaesthetic. However, I haven't needed any painkillers or medication since. In fact the operation was on a Thursday and on Saturday I was at Portman Road watching Ipswich beat Sheffield United.

''I urge anyone to consider becoming a donor. Somewhere in the UK there is a young male toddler who is hopefully on the road to recovery thanks to something I've done. The feeling of pride that gives is indescribable.''

Trudy Thomas, area appeals manager for Suffolk and Norfolk, said: ''The donors and potential donors on the trust's register are a wonderful group of people who, with no thought for themselves, give anonymously what must be the ultimate gift. They receive no monetary gain and without exception do this for the sheer pride of having done the very best that they can for another human being.''

It costs the trust £50 to tissue type a new potential donor for the register and thousands more people are needed to join to give patients hope. A donor has to have a close genetic match to the patient in need. There is a register of 332,000 potential donors and last year 285 patients were helped.

Donors need to be aged between 18 and 40 (43 for men), in excellent health and weigh at least eight stone. They must be prepared to suffer short-term discomfort and to give blood samples. The donor hotline number is 0901 8822234.


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