Northumberland taxi driver and foster carer Mick Davidson just got back from Florida, where he was visiting Rob Kaufman, the man whose life he saved by donating his bone marrow.
When Mick was contacted by Anthony Nolan in 1993, he couldn’t have known that it would turn into a twenty year transatlantic friendship which has seen their two families grow up together.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Rob was just 23 when he received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. He now works as a photographer in South Carolina and lives with his wife and two children.
Mick and Rob first met in 1996. Mick says, ‘Our families got on fantastically and we were welcomed into their home and into their lives with open arms. When I first met Rob my heart was coming through my chest and now 17 years later it’s still exactly the same.’
Mick, 58, says, ‘Looking back now, it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. A lot has happened in 20 years. We all attended Rob’s wedding in 1999, my two girls have both had several extended holidays with their American family, and I have two granddaughters who love speaking to their American ‘cousins’ on Skype.
‘So although the first 20 years of the Davidson–Kaufman story is nearly over, I think that it will go on for many decades to come. It has obviously been great for Rob and his family but it has also been a wonderful blessing and experience for my family and has given us a completely different perspective. It’s hard to imagine our lives without ‘The Kaufmans’ in it. I would encourage anybody who reads this to get involved and sign up to Anthony Nolan’s register. You just never know.’
Ann O’Leary, Anthony Nolan’s Head of Register Development, says, ‘When Mick donated his bone marrow, he had no idea about the impact that he was making on someone’s life. Because Mick joined the bone marrow register, Rob has been able to grow up and have a family of his own. We need more people to think like Mick and join the bone marrow register. We especially need more young men to join the register as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate.’
If you are aged 16–30, you can join the bone marrow register online.