Bedford Donor Meets Toddler She Saved

9 April 2011, 06:00

A woman from Bedford, who donated blood stem cells to a 2-year-old girl, is meeting the family she helped today.

49-year-old Julie Healy didn't realise where her cells were going when she donated them, but has since found out they went to Ella Paul, who was suffering from Leukaemia.

Now 3-years-old, Ella will travel with her Mum and Dad, Mark Paul and Jackie Dancer, to meet Julie at her house in Bedford on Saturday.

Mrs Healy joined the Anthony Nolan donor register 30 years ago and told Heart she's thrilled she's finally been able to help someone:

"I just thought it was so brilliant that me as a mature woman could help this tiny little girl who's got her whole life ahead of her. I'd saved her life effectively. They did say she would have died, without the bone marrow transplant, she would have died."

The Paul family have spoken to Mrs Healy on the phone. The mum-of-two told us what it was like talking to Ella's mum for the first time:

"She was very, very emotional. She was very, very tearful and crying. She just said no words could express how grateful she was that I'd saved her little girl's life. It was very emotional. We were both in floods of tears."

Natalie Keen, who's head of donor recruitment at Anthony Nolan said:

"It's quite rare for a donor and the transplant recipient to meet, as they're not allowed direct contact for the first two years after the transplant and many people choose not to meet after that."

"But Ella's recovery shows that by joining Anthony Nolan's register you could save someone's life. We particularly need more young men to register, as they're most likely to be asked to donate."