England Fan Missed Euro Semi-Finals To Donate Stem Cells

It was about a football fan that skipped the chance to go to England’s Euro 2020 semi-final match for which his girlfriend won two tickets in an online competition. He missed out on the game so he could heroically donate stem cells for which he had an appointment at the hospital. But later he was all set to attend the finals at Wembley as he got free tickets.

What would you do if you found out that your bone marrow was a match for someone who needed it, even a complete stranger? One would surely be hesitant in donating at first! Many people have shown reluctance to join the bone marrow donor registry because they fear being called upon to donate. People have usually volunteered to donate stem cells for a transplant either because they have a loved one or friend who needs a match or they are of the thought that they can get them back later if they need an autologous transplant.

Sam Astley, a 24-year-old kind-hearted person from Dudley, West Midlands gave up everything when he found out to be a match for someone waiting for a donor on the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. By giving up he literally meant everything! Even though he was a die-hard Football fan, Sam Astley skipped the chance to go to England’s Euro 2020 semi-final match for which his girlfriend won two tickets in an online competition. He was scheduled to donate potentially life-saving stem cells on the day of the match.

Sam didn’t hesitate for even once and decided to stick to the hospital appointment instead of heading to the game. He was ready to miss the historical match against Denmark as he thought he could rather help someone save his life. In an interview, Sam exclaimed that he was ready to repeat the same if he had another opportunity to save someone’s life. Being the generous man he was, he said that life was way more important than a football match and no football game could ever beat saving a life!

Sam and Beth (his girlfriend) decided to donate their tickets to relatives as both of them weren’t able to go for the match. Sam watched the semi-final from the hospital bed and Beth was also self-isolating. Sam couldn’t be happier as he had saved someone’s life by donating his stem cells. Not only this, he was all set to donate a liter of bone marrow by the end of the week. He signed up for a memorial football match that had been organized in the memory of Olly Wilkes, who took his own life at the age of just 22.Olly’s father Simon Wilkes suffered from a blood disorder and had been trying to encourage today’s youth to donate stem cells.

Simon was extremely proud of what Sam did. He praised him saying that he was already sacrificing his work time and later he was seen sacrificing the chance of a lifetime! Rebecca Pritchard, director of register development at the Anthony Nolan charity, called Sam a ‘hero’ for doing an extraordinary and incredibly selfless thing. He had placed the needs of his recipient above his own pleasure! He helped blood cancer patients by giving them their best chance at survival. Even the former England footballer Gary Lineker shared a story online applauding Sam’s good deeds. Gary urged the English football association to step up and reward the couple.

As the social media campaigns began, the official sponsors of UEFA Euro 2020 arranged free tickets for Sam and Beth! They wished that the two have a wonderful experience attending the finals.