TRANSPLANT patient Rob Allen is on top of the world – just months after having a life-saving operation.
Just eight months ago, the Hartlepool man was having a bone marrow transplant thanks to a donor hundreds of miles away in Germany.
Now, he’s doing so well, he completed the recent five kilometre Miles for Men run at Seaton Carew in 31 minutes and 23 seconds, and raised £350 for cancer research.
Rob, who is 34 and from the Dyke House area, said: “I feel fitter than I have ever been.
“I started going to the gym in the last couple of months. I am doing weights to build up the muscle that I lost.”
Medics searched in this country for a match for Rob, but were unable to find one, so widened their search across Europe – and a match was discovered. Stem cells were shipped across and Rob underwent a bone marrow transplant.
Rob, who set up a Facebook blog called “Watch me beat cancer”, has sent a thank you card to the man who saved his life.
He added: “After a couple of years I can send him my address details and if he wants to, he can contact me.
“It is a big thing to save someone’s life, especially when you do not know who they are.”
Rob was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder that causes a drop in healthy blood cells, in April last year
Over the course of about a year his white cells and platelet count dropped rapidly.
Doctors carried out a bone marrow biopsy and Rob received the results. He was passed to specialists at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and given three options – to leave his condition untreated, have chemotherapy or have a transplant.
Rob said there was a chance the chemotherapy would “fix” him temporarily, but it could eventually kill him.
He opted for a transplant, even though he was warned there was a 40 per cent chance he could die from it.
Medics registered Rob with blood cancer charity and bone marrow register the Anthony Nolan Trust. After three months, a German match was found which fit 11 out of 12 criteria.
He was in hospital during Christmas and has only had a slight setback since which has seen him need a top-up of bone marrow.
But despite that he said: “To be honest I feel fitter than I ever have.”