Life-saver is up for a national award

A MAN who saved the life of a young American boy has been nominated for a national award.

Widdrington Station resident Barry Crackett has been shortlisted for the Simon Dyson Award for Volunteer of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards.

The Herald previously reported how the 34-year-old signed up to the Anthony Nolan Trust bone marrow donor register in 2002, little thinking that eight years later he would be called on as a match.

He gave the donation in November 2010, but rules prevented him from knowing anything about the recipient for at least two years.

Then in December last year, he was told his bone marrow had saved the life of a young boy from Los Angeles and his family wished to invite Mr Crackett to the States to thank him.

He made the journey in May and came face to face with Ryan Compton, now eight, who has made a full recovery from leukaemia thanks to Mr Crackett’s donation.

The Comptons came to Northumberland for a return visit and the two families are now firm friends.

Mr Crackett’s wife Jessica and Ryan’s mum Maggie nominated him for the award.

He said: “It’s quite exciting. My wife put me forward, unknown to me, and Maggie also wrote a letter. They must have been in cahoots.

“You don’t think you are going to get any recognition when you sign up as a donor, that’s not why you do it, but I will be going to the awards with my wife because it’s another chance to raise awareness of Anthony Nolan.

“The more people who know about the trust the better. Signing up to the register isn’t difficult, it can just be a case of spitting in a little pot and they can take bone marrow easily now.

“I would tell anybody, just do it. When do you get a chance to save somebody’s life? I’m not a fireman or a paramedic, but I was given the opportunity to save somebody’s life and it is such an easy thing to do.”

The awards ceremony takes place at the House of Commons on Monday.

Anthony Nolan Chief Executive Henny Braund said: “Barry’s passion for our work has encouraged so many young people to join the bone marrow register.”

For information, visit www.anthonynolan.org