Chorley man saves life of American he has never even met

It's not every day you get to meet the person who saved your life.

More unusual still, is when that person is a complete stranger, who you've never even met before.

But for Patrick Languzzi who lives in Boston, Massachusetts in America, this was a truly emotional moment.

He had been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and given a 3% chance of survival.

His life was saved by a stem cell transplant. His donor was a man from Chorley, who he didn't know and had never met - until now.

Here is this the moment they "met" for the very first time:

I first met Patrick's donor Alex Christopher a year ago while covering the story of Pete McCleave.

Pete, who has a blood cancer called myeloma, set up his own campaign, 10,000 donors, to get more people on the stem cell donor register, in an attempt to help find himself a donor.

Pete's friend and colleague wanted to do what he could to help him, so in 2018 he signed on to the donor register himself, hopeful that he could be a match for Pete.

He wasn't. But he was found to be a match for someone else.

Alex after donating stem cells.

At the time, all Alex was told was his recipient was male, in his 50s or 60s and living in America.

Two years after his donation, Alex and Patrick have finally "met", but due to covid and the distance, they've done it over the internet.

Our cameras were there to see the whole thing.

WATCH the emotional exchange between the pair:

Strict confidentiality means donors and recipients are only offered the chance of making contact after 2 years have passed.

Despite the thousands of miles that separate them, they both wanted to meet. And today - a name on a piece of paper finally became a face, a voice, a real person.

In an emotional exchange, Patrick told Alex:"I had trouble sleeping last night, I was so excited to meet you. I find myself getting a little emotional.

"I don't think people realise what they can do to help somebody I mean i have a family and I don't think it would be possible if it wasn't for you and i thank you for that

Patrick in hospital after being diagnosed with blood cancer.

Replying to Patrick, Alex said: "Honestly it is the least I can do. People don't appreciate the power they've got to do something like this.

"I think people still worry it will be painful and inconvenient, but it really wasn't. DKMS worked around me.

"I was in hospital for just 4 hours in the end. It was not invasive, I had a tube in one arm and another in my other arm. It took my stem cells out and put my blood back in my body."

Patrick said: "I keep thinking Alex, what if you didn't do it? I'm so grateful. I thank you, we're joined at the hip now. But you're like my brother, you saved my life and I love you."

Alex responded:"It's my privilege, I'd do it all over again."

Pete McCleave has a form of blood cancer. He was given seven years to live - unless he can find a stem cell donor.

Pete McCleave is still waiting for a donor match but Patrick says he is now committed to helping him find a donor."I feel i need to do what i can to help your friend, so I'm giving my commitment to see how many donors I can get in the States to find a match for your friend Pete."

Pete has been speaking to Lucy Meacock.

They're already planning when they can meet in person, in the meantime, they're hoping their story will inspire many others to sign up to become donors too

You can find out more about Pete's campaign and find out how to sign up to be a donor here

Mel Barham speaks to Peter McCleave in the latest From the North podcast.