Cancer survivor will run marathon alongside bone marrow donor who saved his life

The Westmorland Gazette: MARATHON MEN: Sean Hagan, 23, and Johnny Pearson, 44 MARATHON MEN: Sean Hagan, 23, and Johnny Pearson, 44

A BONE marrow donor will run Sunday’s London Marathon with the man whose life he saved.

Sean Hagan, 23, donated his stem cells after being inspired by Ulverston teenager Alice Pyne, who put it at the top of her ‘bucket list’ before her tragic death from cancer in 2013.

The Askam-in-Furness man’s donation saved the life of father-of-two Johnny Pearson, 44, from North Yorkshire, after he was diagnosed with leukaemia for the second time in just 18 months.

Sean, whose stem cell donation was undertaken by the Anthony Nolan charity, said: “I remember being amazed at how simple it was. I hope Alice Pyne’s parents will see this and know what a special daughter they had. She was the reason I joined the Anthony Nolan register in the first place. Saving Johnny’s life is the best thing I’ve ever done and it’s the best thing I’ll ever do.”

The two men were allowed to write to each other anonymously and shared a series of emotional letters in which Johnny told Sean he ‘wanted to shake his hand’ and show him what his donation means to his wife, children and friends. They subsequently arranged to run the London Marathon together on Sunday.

Anthony Nolan, a charity that has been matching donors to recipients for 40 years, arranged for the pair to meet up for a training session before they undertake the 26.2 mile slog through the capital.

Johnny, now fully recovered, said: “Meeting Sean was one of the best experiences of my life. Without him I wouldn’t be here today.

“My wife wouldn’t have a husband and my children wouldn’t have a father. “How can you possibly say thank you to someone who gave you your life back? What an incredible person.”

For more information on Anthony Nolan visit www.anthonynolan.org and to donate to Sean and Johnny’s fundraising page visit www.just giving.com/johnnypearson and www.justgiving. com/SeanHagan

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