Saving lives runs in the family for Stevenage mum and son bone marrow donors
- Credit: Archant
When potential donors sign up on the bone marrow register, they know it’s a long shot that they’ll be called in to help save a life.
But for Rob Mellhuish, who has just made a vital donation to help to a stranger in need, it’s something of a family tradition.
Rob registered as a donor with the Anthony Nolan Trust eight years ago when he was 18.
And when doctors spotted that he was the perfect match for a patient, he didn’t hesitate.
Rob says he was inspired by his mother Ann Roberts, who was herself a donor in 1998.
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Doctors determine bone marrow matches based on the compatability in patients’ blood tissue.
It is estimated only one in every 100 registered donors will ever actually undergo a transplant procedure.
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Rob, who lives in Stevenage and works as an assistant manager at the Royal Opera House in London, said: “I always wanted to do it, ever since I saw my mum donate and I learned about how important it can be to someone. She really inspired me.
“So many people wait for years to find a donor. A lot more never find a match so I knew I wanted to do it as soon as the opportunity came around.
“The procedure is so straight-forward these days, it’s hardly any different from giving blood.
“I’m happy that I may have made a difference in someone’s life. It was absolutely worth it.”
Mum-of-one Ann, a long-time finance manager at the Knights Templar School in Baldock, was among the first people to sign up to the bone marrow register after it was established in the early 1970s but had to wait 17 years before she got the call.
She said: “I am extremely proud of Rob and so happy the Trust was able to find someone compatible.
“I think it is a really special thing to find a match. It gives you the chance to help people with such a wide range of illnesses – leukaemia, HIV and cancer sufferers can all benefit from a donation. I think it’s amazing that we’ve both been given the opportunity to donate.
“Just as Rob followed my example, I hope other young people will be inspired by what he has done. It is so rare to find bone marrow transplant matches. They need all the help they can get.”
For more information on the Anthony Nolan Trust or becoming a donor visit www.anthonynolan.org