How a young man’s kindness saved a child’s life
A moving tale of a young man’s generosity
It’s easy to think the world is going to hell in a handcart these days. There seems to be so much negativity, even downright hostility, and I often get that uneasy feeling that we’ve been sleep-walking into disaster with the explosion in our use of technology.
But just when I am getting overloaded with bad news, and am beginning to feel dejected about the future we’re creating for our children, a story comes along that makes me realise how much goodness there still is all around us. Time and time again, given half a chance, the light outshines the darkness.
Towards the end of last year BBC Look East reporter Robby West made a film that brought tears to the eyes. It was about a young boy called Rupert and a young man called Billy, who saved his life.
I’m often asked how we get our stories. Occasionally they come from people we know – in this case, Robby has known Billy for many years. They used to joke that Billy was a “terrible human” because he’d once accidentally knocked over a mate, breaking his arm. But when they last met up, Billy jokingly said he’d evened out the score.
A few years ago he’d joined the bone marrow register. He fancied a young woman in the signing-up queue, so was motivated by that rather than altruism. But he was notified soon after that he was a match for a six-year-old boy who was seriously ill with a rare blood disorder.
Billy went through a procedure to extract bone marrow from his pelvis and his stem cells were given to Rupert, who has made a full recovery as a result. Look East filmed the moment his family met their life-saver for the first time. It was hugely emotional.
Billy joked that he was quite happy to take the title ‘Superman’, given to him by Rupert. But in reality, he was very modest about what he’d done, saying anyone would do the same. The point is, his kindness and humanity saved a child’s life, and a family from unbearable heartbreak.
Billy is now married to the woman he met in that queue. It turns out he was not such a terrible human after all!
POWER OF POSITIVITY
A few weeks ago, a video went viral on social media showing a teenager physically bullying a smaller lad on a school playing field. It was shocking and made you feel angry, depressed and helpless.
Another symptom of our ‘broken’ society? It appeared so. But then came the reaction. An online uprising of support for the boy being abused, from thousands of strangers across the land. In just 24 hours, more than £100,000 had been raised for him and his family, who are refugees.
No one was kidding themselves that money was going to solve all their problems, but it was a way to show how much people cared, that this family’s suffering had been witnessed and they were not alone. Doing something positive for someone else – whether big or small – is an antidote to negativity. Let’s all do more of it in 2019!
THE ROYAL LITTER-PICKERS
I loved hearing that Princes William and Harry used to be taken litterpicking in Norfolk by their father when they were boys. This was apparently billed as a ‘holiday’, and they assumed everyone did this kind of thing. And don’t we wish they did? In fact, everyone just picking up their own litter would be a start!
After watching a report about plastic pollution on Look East, Nigel and Jenny Ford recently started their own campaign called ‘Love Norfolk, HATE litter’. They’re calling for all Norfolk residents to collect a minimum of three items of litter a day. The idea is that with us all making a small effort we can achieve a huge amount. Well, if the Royal family can do it, surely we can too?
ABOVE: Billy and Rupert