Dad who joined bone marrow register when a friend became ill saves stranger's life just four weeks later


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The Independent Online

A dad who joined the bone marrow register when a friend became ill has become a match for someone else just weeks after she passed away.

Film editor Jack Paulson, 47, joined the register in 2009 when he was living in Los Angeles.

Just four weeks after his friend passed away from leukaemia, Jack received a phone call saying that he was a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant and in January he was able to donate.

Six months on, Jack is now preparing to find out how his recipient progressed after the treatment, although information is only released if the patient agrees.

Jack, who now lives in Bristol with wife Alicia and daughter Madeline, donated through the UK-based charity Anthony Nolan.

Jack, said: "It was only when our friend got ill and needed a transplant that we realised that there was a shortage of bone marrow donors. I signed up straight away but unfortunately I wasn't a match for her. The call to say I was a match came so soon after our friend passed away that it really struck me - I could help someone who was in the same position as she had been."

Jack donated via peripheral blood stem cell collection, a procedure similar to giving blood.

He said: "The actual donation was really simple and easy. I felt a little lethargic but it's really nothing when I considered the trade off - I was taking just a few days out of my life to have such a major life-changing impact on the recipient.

"I found the whole process incredible. The fact that such a small and simple act could save someone's life us just amazing. I was absolutely blown away by it. Now I'm just waiting to hear how my recipient got on. I hope that that transplant will be a success and it feels great that I have given someone the best possible chance at a future."

Jack returned to work a week after his donation was taken.

Ann O'Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said: "Sadly, like half of people in need of a bone marrow transplant, Jack's friend was unable to find a suitable donor. By joining the register and going on to donate, Jack has given someone the best chance possible at survival.

"We urgently need more men, like Jack, to join the register as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate."

To join the register, donors need to be aged 16 to 30 and in good health. The process can be started online at