Wigan cancer survivor calls for stem cell donors after life-saving transplant

Marcus Williams
Marcus Williams

A Wigan cancer survivor is urging people to join the stem cell donor register after he was given a second chance at life.

Marcus Williams, 44, was given only months to live after being diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma back in April 2014.

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The business development manager, who works at Warrington-based engineering firm “Wood”, is hoping his story will inspire others to join the register and help to save more lives.

Marcus was healthy, exercised at the gym regularly and had just completed his first 10k run when he received the shock diagnosis.

He began chemotherapy within a month but was given the heart-wrenching news that he may only have between six and 12 weeks to live.

After being told he was not well enough for a transplant, his only hope was a clinical trial.

However, after responding to treatment and following radiotherapy, he was stable enough for a stem cell transplant. His sister Amanda was tested and sadly wasn’t a match.

An unrelated donor was found by stem cell charity Anthony Nolan and in November 2014, Marcus received his transplant.

Despite a few setbacks during his recovery, he returned to work last year and feels his life is back on track.

He is using his experience to raise awareness of the need for more people like his stem cell donor, to join the Anthony Nolan register.

“My journey to recovery has been extremely difficult and challenging,” he said.

“Thanks to the work that Anthony Nolan does to support people with blood cancer, I was able to find a matching donor from the stem cell register.

“This experience has changed me and because of this, I am committed to raising awareness for the need for more people particularly young men aged 16 to 30 to join the stem cell register.”

Marcus is set to hold a registration event at The Centre in Birchwood Park next month and is encouraging people to go and learn more about the stem cell donor process and put their name on the list.

He added: “Together we can best utilise the diversity of Birchwood Park as an overwhelming cause for good, to give something back, to help rewrite somebody else’s life story.

“Please consider how amazing it would feel to save someone’s life, to give them a second chance.”

Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer, such as leukaemia, by matching them to people willing to donate their bone marrow, or blood stem cells, for life-saving transplants.

It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

About 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a stranger every year.

Ninety per cent of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection) which is a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood.

The event will take place at The Centre in Birchwood Park on Friday, December 7 between 11am and 2pm.

For more information about Anthony Nolan, visit www.anthonynolan.org