Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Father who went public to find bone marrow donor dies

A Leukaemia sufferer who managed to find a bone marrow donor after an appeal through the Belfast Telegraph has died.

News broke yesterday that Bill Quigley had lost his battle against the disease.

The 39-year-old father-of-two hit the headlines last year following an appeal to the public to sign up for the bone marrow register.

Bill's sister Alison was a match, but days before the transplant operation was scheduled she was also diagnosed with cancer.

Last April doctors told Bill's family that he would not survive without a transplant.

As no-one else from the family was a match, his mother Vonnie and father Bill snr began a campaign to get people on the bone marrow register.

Within two days hundreds of people from across Northern Ireland had come forward to be tested. The operation went ahead in July, buying Bill some extra months.

At the time he said he hoped to write a letter to the donor letting them know how grateful he was. He said: “I will write and tell them how grateful I am to them for what they are doing and I would obviously encourage everybody to get tested for the bone marrow transplant. It is a big deal not just for the person who is receiving the marrow, but also for the donor, they go through a lot, too.

“It's not a Mickey Mouse operation but at least it is a transplant operation where the donor doesn't have to die first, so they get to live with the knowledge that somewhere, someone is walking around enjoying life thanks to their selfless good deed.

“I will think about the donor every day of my life, even if I never get to find out who they are.”

Sadly, Bill developed complications and died yesterday morning. His mother said the family wanted to thank everyone who signed up to the bone marrow register.

“As soon as people in Derry became aware of our plight they came forward in their hundreds and registered their names, and the staff at every blood donation session everywhere in Northern Ireland had a great uptake of people too,” Mrs Quigley said.

“Because of this, the number of people on the register has risen.

“I would like people to continue to get on the register in Bill's memory; there is no better way to pay tribute to a wonderful father, son and brother.”

Bill's funeral will take place tomorrow at Holy Family church, Ballymagroarty.

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