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Minister donates transplant double

Andrew Checkley has twice donated his stem cells for bone marrow transplants and is urging other people to do the same

Andrew Checkley has twice donated his stem cells for bone marrow transplants and is urging other people to do the same

A Chesterfield methodist minister who gave two people the chance of life is urging others to follow in his footsteps.

Andrew Checkley, 42, from Hasland, has donated his stem cells twice to people in desperate need of bone marrow transplants.

Andrew joined the Anthony Nolan register 22 years ago when he saw a sign in the doctors’ surgery asking for bone marrow donors.

Two years later Andrew was matched to someone in desperate need of a transplant and he travelled to London to donate.

Andrew said: “I didn’t think too much about it at the time – if I can do something to help someone else, I will.

“I was told that the person was very ill and there was a chance that they may not make it. Unfortunately, I heard afterwards that they had passed away.

“It was very sad but I still think it’s so important to donate and give someone that chance.”

Just five years later, Andrew received another call to say that he was a match for someone else in need of a transplant. Andrew said: “It really is quite unusual to be called to donate twice when you think of all of the thousands of different tissue types in the world.

“I wasn’t able to find out what happened to them but I really hope that they recovered.

“I am grateful that I was able to have played a part in their treatment and give them this important chance of survival. Some people have asked me if it was painful or difficult.

“It was actually quite simple and nothing compared to what the recipient is going through at the same time.”

In 2012 Anthony Nolan opened a donation centre in Sheffield and Andrew signed up to volunteer to help donors through the process and answer their questions.

Visit www.anthonynolan.org for more information or to get involved.

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