Sam Astley and his girlfriend had won the tickets for Wednesday’s game through a last-minute competition, but Astley was unable to attend as he had already signed up to be a donor six weeks prior.
Astley told the BBC there was “no chance” that he would delay the procedure, and instead chose to watch the match from his hospital bed.
His actions have earned high praise from football legend Gary Lineker and blood cancer charity, the Anthony Nolan Trust, which described him as a “hero”.
“England’s heroes weren’t just on the pitch last night but in the shape of our hero @samastley1 who gave up attending the semis to save someone’s life by donating his cells for a patient,” Terence Lovell, the trust’s chief engagement officer said, tagging Astley in a tweet.
Shortly after, Vivo, a sponsor of the Euro 2020, announced that it will give Astley and his girlfriend tickets to the tournament final.
In a post on Twitter, the smartphone manufacturer said: “We saw this and would like to help Sam go to the final on Sunday. Sam deserves to be at the game and we want to make it happen!”
England beat Denmark 2-1 in Wednesday’s match after captain Harry Kane scored a winning goal in extra time, earning the squad a spot in the tournament’s final.
It is the first time England has reached the final of an international tournament since 1966.
According to Stourbridge News, Astley registered to make the donation six weeks ago during a football tournament organised by his girlfriend’s friend, Simon Wilkes.
“Simon suffers from a form of blood cancer himself so [he] invites Anthony Nolan to the charity events and encourages as many people as possible to sign up to the register,” Astley said.
Stem cells are donated in two possible ways, either from the blood or bone marrow. Astley underwent a procedure that removed the cells from the bone marrow in his hip bone.
The removal takes place using a needle and syringe under a general anaesthetic. Most donors need to stay in the hospital for up to 48 hours after the procedure, and recovery can take up to five days.
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