Facebook helps reunite Yorkshire brothers after 15 years apart

Karl (left) and Michael Speight.
Karl (left) and Michael Speight.
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WHEN two brothers who hadn’t spoken for 15 years met by chance on Facebook, one learned the other faced a fight for life.

Michael and Karl Speight, of Wakefield, lost touch after Karl’s former job as an outdoor pursuits instructor took him the length and breadth of Britain.

Karl, 33, didn’t know long-lost older brother Michael, 36, had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2007.

Michael said: “I had just been diagnosed and had just got a laptop. I put my profile on Facebook and went back a couple of days later and I had a message which said, ‘Do I know you?’ I sent him one back, saying, ‘I hope so, I’m your brother.’”

He added: “It was emotional, it was nice to see him. He was shocked but glad to see I was still here. He has been there all the way through when I needed him, taking me to hospital. He has been there.”

Michael has undergone extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy and has had stem cell transplants. He is now in remission and is back at work at Asda’s Normanton warehouse after three years spent in and out of St James’ Hospital in Leeds.

Now the brothers are inseparable and plan a fundraising bike ride in the Lake District this summer.

Karl, of Ossett, who works with children in care, said the brothers now speak two or three times a week.

“It’s been good, it’s like I have never been away from him,” he said. “When I first found out about the illness I was afraid and scared.”

The Speights and friends Chris Whalley, 37, and Jamie Lawrence, 31, are in training for the three-day 100-mile cycle ride across the lake District, staring on May 26.

Mr Whalley’s father-in-law Granville Devonshire, 64, suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The four friends plan to split cash raised between the MND Association and Wolf (Wakefield Oncology and Leukaemia Fund), a charity which provides equipment like TVs to help make cancer patients’ lengthy hospital stays a little easier.

Sponsor the four friends at www.mt bikechallenge.com or call Chris Whalley on 078169 77992.

mark.lavery@ypn.co.uk

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