Luke Munro is a roofer from Rochdale. He joined the Anthony Nolan register in 2012 after seeing a patient appeal and was found to be a match for a patient, Olly Walls, after just three months.
‘It was a shock to find out I was a match but I was raring to go,’ said Luke. ‘I went down to London and had a medical – it was the first time I’d ever been to the capital! The doctor told me they didn’t need many stem cells so I figured out it may be a child. It made it all real for me. It was a good feeling, it was overwhelming -- you feel like you are really helping.
‘The donation was so easy that I felt I had to do even more in that moment. I had my laptop with me and I signed up to the 10k Manchester run while I was sat on the bed, because I was just thinking, what else can I do?
‘It’s life changing for you and your recipient. Not many people get the chance to donate. It’s something to be proud of and look back on and say I’ve helped someone. I would say it’s changed my life too, it’s made me value life more and do more to help people.
‘A few months later, I got a card from the parents of the little boy I donated to thanking me, and they said it was the first time they had been able to leave hospital since their child was born. I was just so proud. It was great to be able to help and I just wanted them to keep going and improving.’
In March 2016 Luke met Olly – the little boy whose life he saved – for the first time. Olly, from Dunfermline, was only three weeks old when he was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
‘It was heart-breaking to hear everything that Olly had gone through. His mum gave me a card Olly made and showed me pictures of him before the transplant. To see it all first hand it was very upsetting. I did well up when I saw one picture, of when his brother and sister were allowed to meet him for the first time.
‘To see him running around and playing was brilliant. He could play with his brother and sister and that meant the world to me.
‘It makes you want to help even more because there are so many people like Olly out there. The minute I got home I put something on Facebook and it got loads of comments from people signing up.
'I gave Olly a hug and when I was leaving I carried him out to the car. It was a very happy day.’
The pair have since met several more times, and Olly’s mum Jen commented, ‘Luke will always be part of Olly’s life as he grows up.’
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