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Northern Ireland man Anthony Magennis leaves coronavirus lockdown to donate life-saving blood stem cells


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Anthony Magennis going through the procedure

Anthony Magennis going through the procedure

Anthony Magennis going through the procedure

A Co Down man has told how he left lockdown to fly to London to donate life-saving blood stem cells.

Anthony Magennis (30), from Hillsborough, who works as a recruitment administrator for the Belfast law firm Allen & Overy, signed up to the Anthony Nolan Trust donor register four years ago.

The charity contacted him out of the blue in January to say that he was a potential match for someone in need.

He flew to London last month for a medical that included a test for the coronavirus.

Days later he returned for another Covid-19 test - and the donation procedure itself, which was carried out at King's College Hospital and took several hours.

While the idea of donating stem cells might seem intimidating to some, for Anthony the worst part of the experience was the two tests for coronavirus.

"(The procedure) is a bit like giving blood, although it's a much longer process. It took about six to seven hours in all," he explained.

"In normal circumstances you would be allowed someone to sit with you, but because of coronavirus my partner wasn't allowed in to the hospital.

"The hardest part was having the coronavirus tests. That was not a pleasant experience."

Anthony added his name to the register after learning about the charity from his now fiancee Alana Fisher.

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Anthony Magennis and fiancee Alana Fisher

Anthony Magennis and fiancee Alana Fisher

Anthony Magennis and fiancee Alana Fisher

"I first signed up to the Anthony Nolan Trust's donor register in 2016. I was living in London at the time and my partner Alana Fisher worked for the charity," he said.

"I didn't know much about the charity before that, but I could see the difference that it made to patients' lives and I had no hesitation in signing up to the donor register.

"I wasn't really expecting to hear back from the charity, so it was a complete surprise when they got in touch in January to say that I was a potential match for a patient."

All Anthony knows about the recipient is that she is a grown woman, but he is nevertheless delighted to have helped.

"I like to think that I put my two volunteering days, which Allen & Overy give us each year, to good use," he told Sunday Life.

"It's a great feeling thinking that potentially you have helped to save someone's life."

The Anthony Nolan Trust has launched an emergency coronavirus appeal to raise funds and continue its life-saving work during the pandemic.

For More information about the charity, joining the register or making a donation,visit www.anthonynolan.org

Belfast Telegraph