England fan who missed Euro semi-final to donate bone marrow now gets to go to final

An England fan who had won tickets for the Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark missed out on the game so he could heroically donate his bone marrow.

Sam Astley, from the West Midlands, instead watched the match from his hospital bed as he prepared for a procedure on Thursday.

When asked how difficult of a decision it was, the 24-year-old told ITV News: "No football game is more important than anyone's life.

"So being able to give the opportunity to somebody to have a chance at life and give them a bit more hope is way more important than any football game," he added.

Since then, the CEO of Blood Cancer UK Gemma Peters shared his story on Twitter, which got noticed by thousands and now Mr Astley and his partner Beth Hill can go and enjoy the final at Wembley on Sunday.

Euro 2020 sponsor Vivo tweeted: "As official sponsor of Euro 2020 we can arrange the tickets for Sam."

Mr Astley also thanked everyone for their "wonderful" messages as well as former England footballer Gary Lineker for his support.

He tweeted: "Thanks for the recognition @GaryLineker & thanks for all the wonderful messages off everyone!

"I’m glad @AnthonyNolan are getting more exposure so hopefully more people sign up to their register & give others a chance at life. The procedure went well and I’m now recovering."

The procedure Mr Astley underwent on Thursday involved the removal of bone marrow containing stem cells from his hip bones.

He signed up to be on the Anthony Nolan Trust's register at a football tournament organised by his partner's friend Simon Wilkes, Stourbridge News reported.

Anthony Nolan is a UK charity which works in the areas of leukaemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.