A brave bone marrow donor is set to jet across the world to meet the little boy whose life he saved.
When Barry Crackett, from Widdrington Station, saw an appeal for donors to help a young girl in 2002 he had no hesitation in stepping forward.
The 24-year-old registered with the Anthony Nolan Trust, which matches bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients in need of a transplant, but heard nothing more.
Eight years went by and Mr Crackett never gave it another thought, but one day he got a phone call out of the blue to say he was a possible match, which was confirmed by tests.
“I started to get a bit nervous and apprehensive, and a lot of my friends were asking what I was doing it for, but everyone was supportive — my boss, my wife and my family,” he said.
“Before I went through with it I was told I could pull out, but there was a good chance the boy wouldn’t survive.
“At that point I tried to stay away from people with colds and look after myself because it wasn’t just my life I was responsible for, it was this little boy’s life as well.
“I was just in hospital for the day and night, it was a very small operation,” he said. “There is a misconception about how painful it is.
“I have probably had a worse cold. I didn’t feel any pain. I still have a couple of scars on my back and I was a bit tired for a couple of weeks, but that’s nothing to save somebody’s life.”
The Anthony Nolan Trust stayed in touch, but it was six months before he was told that the young recipient had survived and he knew it would be two years before there was any chance of contact.
It was in December last year that the designer was told that the boy’s family wanted a meeting — and they live in Los Angeles.
The invitation was to attend an event for donors and recipients on May 10, but it was uncertain whether the Northumberland family could fly out as Mr Crackett’s wife Jessica was due to give birth in April. However, little Sol arrived on April 2, in plenty of time for the celebration.
“When I got the letter from the boy’s family we were in hospital because my son had just been born so it was really emotional,” said Mr Crackett.