AN inspirational sailor who beat a rare form of leukaemia stopped off in Hartlepool as part of a gruelling journey around the UK.
Olly Rofix was just 20 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease.
The sailor, who is now 26, was told that only two other people had suffered with it and both had since died.
However, he underwent gruelling treatment, including chemotherapy, and three days after his 21st birthday the ‘present’ arrived which he had been waiting for –bone marrow donated by a matching donor which saved Olly’s life.
After a physical and emotional battle against the disease, he was given the all clear.
In March this year, Olly, who lives with his parents in Suffolk, started another gruelling challenge.
Alone in an 18ft sailing boat, which he bought before his transplant, he set off on an eight-month trip sailing around the UK.
And Olly was all smiles as he sailed into Hartlepool on Monday for a one-night stop before he carried on his journey yesterday.
He told the Mail: “I bought this boat as an incentive.
“When I was feeling really down, the delights of my boat was one of the things that pulled me through.”
Olly is hoping to raise awareness of the importance of bone marrow donors and is urging people to join the Anthony Nolan register.
He added: “The ordeal has definitely changed me as a person.
“Now I just try to live every day to the absolute full and go for absolutely everything.”
To sponsor Olly in his efforts, or for more information about joining the register, visit www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and select the link at the bottom of this story.