July 11, 2008

Soldier Flies Home to Save Cancer Patient


A SCOTTISH soldier flew home to save the life of a cancer patient, after it emerged he was a perfect donor match.

Marc Munro, 24, from Arbroath, was on his third tour of Iraq when he heard that his bone marrow was needed by a leukaemia patient.

Within hours, his superiors in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards had given L-Cpl Munro permission to leave the tour.

Recalling his dash back to Britain, L-Cpl Munro said yesterday: "They don't let people go easily when you're on tour in Iraq, but my bosses were incredibly supportive and within a week flew me back to London."

L-Cpl Munro signed up to the Anthony Nolan Trust bone marrow register three years ago, after the charity held a clinic at the German base of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards to try to bolster its number of donors.

He arrived in London for the transplant in June and just two days later was back in Germany recovering , feeling "completely fine". Once fully fit, he will return to duty.

He said it had been an immensely rewarding experience and encouraged other people to add their names to the 390,000 on the bone marrow register.

He said: "I felt so lucky and privileged. It's tough being in Iraq. Getting cracking news like that makes a massive difference. The most amazing thing is that you know your bone marrow is going to someone who urgently needs it. You know you're potentially saving a life."

The former Arbroath High School pupil joined the army in 2000.

Alex Frazier, of the Anthony Nolan Trust, said: "There are just not enough individuals like Marc registered. For many patients in need of a transplant ... their time is rapidly running out."

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