Survivor in dream come true visit to meet lifesaver
ACANCER survivor has travelled hundreds of miles to meet the stranger who saved her life.
Margaret Watts, 65, from Macclesfield, was diagnosed with hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a cancer which attacks blood cells in the bone marrow, in 2010.
At the same time more than 700 miles away in Germany Klaus Bodenmueller, 46, joined a bone marrow register, a decision which would save Margaret’s life.
Last month, four years on after a successful stem cell transplant the grandmother-of-three was finally able to say thank you to him in an emotional meeting.
Retired administrator Margaret, who lives with her husband Allen on Kershaw Grove, said: “To come face to face with the person who saved your life was absolutely overwhelming and there were many tears. There will be a special bond between us for life.”
Margaret’s life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with MDS and she was warned her chances of survival were low without a bone marrow transplant.
Doctors put her on the British Bone Marrow Reg- istry, part of an international network hoping to find a life-saving match.
She said: “I remember being strangely calm when they told me because we could finally give a name to the thing that had been making me ill and see what could be done to save me. Then it was a case of hoping for the best.”
The network matched Klaus and Margaret and stem cells were transplanted from him to her.
Klaus said he felt ‘wonderful’ knowing he had helped Margaret adding: “The thought that I saved a woman’s life gives me goose bumps.”
As part of the process donors and recipients are allowed to make contact if both agree two years after the operation.
Margaret is sharing her story in a bid to encourage more potential donors.
She said: “I am not someone who likes being in the limelight but I desperately want more people to do a very simple thing and join the registers so that other lives can be saved. It is as simple as giving a sample of saliva or blood.”
To be a donor you must be aged 16 to 55, in good general health, weigh over 50kg and have a BMI lower than 40.
There are three registers you can join: the Anthony Nolan Trust, the British Bone Marrow Registry or Delete Blood Cancer, depending on your age.
●● Margaret Watts was able to have a stem cell transplant to fight her blood cancer
●● The scene of the five car smash on Great King Street in Macclesfield
●● Margaret with donor Klaus in Germany