US dad flies 3,000 miles to meet Chorley stem cell donor who saved his life

This is the emotional moment a father from the US finally met the stem cell donor who saved his life.

Patrick Languzzi, from Boston, had a 3% chance of surviving blood cancer before he found that all important donor from a stranger who lives in Chorley - Alex Christopher.

Due to strict confidentiality associated with stem cell transplants, for months the pair only had very limited information about each other - until they were finally able to reach out online.

But that was not enough, both wanted nothing more than to meet in person and so Patrick flew 3,000 from America to meet Alex and the pair shared an emotional embrace at Heathrow airport in London.

Patrick Languzzi, his wife Ezzy, and his donor Alex Christopher meeting in person for the first time at Heathrow airport.

Patrick, and his wife Ezzy who travelled to the UK too, sobbed as he met the man who saved his life said: "He's like my brother now. I love him.

"He's my genetic twin. I didn't think there was such a thing. I never knew there was such a thing.

"We are we are family now. There's no two ways about. The impact he's had on on my life - I wouldn't be here. It's pretty simple."

Also emotional, Alex said, "It's the least someone can do to save a life" and that he would do it all again, for anybody, to be given a second chance.

He said: "It's just so life affirming. You can see the impact it has."

Pete, who has encouraged 100,000 to sign up to be a donor, desperately needs a stem cell transplant himself.

Alex signed up to be a stem cell donor in 2018, in the hope of helping his friend Pete McCleave, who is in desperate need of a transplant.

Pete, from Cheshire, has managed to persuade nearly 100,000 people to sign the register to donate their stem cells as part of a campaign he set up called 10,000 donors.

They have already given 17 people the chance of life.

He watched as Patrick and Alex met for the first time. But the meeting is bitter sweet as Pete has yet to find a match for himself - and his time is running out.

"It puts a lot of things in perspective," Pete says. "You see what is possible and it also shows you in stark reality the situation that many patients find themselves in who do not have a match just yet.

"But seeing Patrick and Alex connect and knowing that it does work, you just need more people registered. It just keeps me motivated to keep on going. "

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.