A life-saver is urging local residents to sign up for bone marrow donation – after meeting the woman whose life he helped save 18 years ago.
Insurance worker Andy Hall, who plays for the Pilling Jubilee Silver Band, and his family had the joy of meeting Amy Stuart and her family when they visited relatives in America earlier this month.
Sharing the heart-warming story of how their friendship has grown following the donation of his bone marrow in 1996, he said: “The whole experience was overwhelming and humbling in so far as a normal everyday person can save someone’s life by doing something as simple as donating bone marrow.”
The two families were able to meet up for a day out at a zoo in Indianapolis.
Andy, from Pilling, said: “We recognised each other straight away and introduced our families. We spent the whole day and evening with them and had the most wonderful time. We exchanged gifts and said our goodbyes agreeing that we will meet again in the future.”
He had signed up for the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust in 1986 with work mates from a Knott End insurance firm following a recruitment drive by a Preston Rotary club.
Nor is it the only life he has saved. He revealed: “In 2008 I was fortunate again to be a match for someone who needed a stem cell transplant.”
He added:“The Trust is always on the lookout for new donors to register so if you are interested in becoming a donor check out their website www.anthoynolan.org.uk”
Amy Stuart has gone on to marry and adopt two children.
The two families met up for the first time this summer and Andy, 50, a cornet player with the band, was thrilled with the thoughtful music-related gift presented by Amy and her family.
It features musician Louis Armstrong on the cover of the music of What A Wonderful World – a tune close to Amy’s heart because she chose to have it played at her wedding to husband Brian Budke.
But this is a version personalised for Andy. A specially written inscription, adapted from the words of the hit song notes: “I heard my babies cry, I watch them grow,
“Because of your gift, I love them so, And I’m grateful to you, For A Wonderful World.”
The two families finally met up in Indianapolis, with Amy and family,including Brian and adopted youngsters Eleanor (Nora) and her brother Reece, travelling to meet them.
The story began when Andy worked at insurance company J.A Redman and Co in Knott End.
“I, along with several of my work colleagues, joined the Anthony Nolan Trust Donors Register following a recruitment drive by a local Rotary Club in Preston,” he said.
“In January 1996 I received a letter from the Trust advising that I was a possible match for someone.”
He travelled to London to give his donation so it could be flown straight to the American recipient and recalled:“I later found out that the recipient was a young woman by the name of Amy Stuart who was 23 and had been diagnosed with Chronic Mylogeneous Leukaemia two years earlier.