A DAD is set to run this Sunday’s Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon to thank the hospital that saved his partner’s life with a bone marrow transplant from a mystery American donor.
Andi Heald wants to raise cash for the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital, where his partner Lucy Holland-Selby underwent the successful transplant.
Miss Holland-Selby, 35, from Roundhay, was training to be a midwife when she fell ill in 2013 soon after giving birth to the couple’s daughter Thea, now aged four.
Miss Holland-Selby was diagnosed with rare disease aplastic anaemia – a condition where the immune system attacks and destroys bone marrow.
An international search was launched to find a bone marrow donor and a perfect match was found with a donor in America.
Now Miss Holland-Selby’s health is improving she has written to the mystery donor to say ‘thank you’.
Miss Holland-Selby said: “I have sent a card and a letter, but how can you possibly express the gratitude you have for this person? They not only saved my life, they stopped a family losing their partner and mother.
“I would love to meet him at some point. I have tears in my eyes even when I think about what he did for us.”
Finance manager Mr Heald, also 35, said: “I’m not really a runner, but I wanted to do something to raise funds to support the Bexley Wing, to raise a bit of awareness and to try to give something back.
“The care that Lucy received was fantastic – we couldn’t fault it. I’ve joined the bone marrow register and have been donating platelets for a while now.”
More than 8,500 runners are set to take part in this Sunday’s Yorkshire Evening Post backed race, which starts at 9.30am on Sunday on The Headrow.
The Run For All organised race part of the lasting legacy of the late fundraiser and campaigner Jane Tomlinson.
There are a limited number of places still avalable in the race.
Sign up at www.theyorkshiremarathon.com/events/plusnet-leeds-half-marathon/
It is supported by Plusnet, Leeds City Council, ViiSana, Asda Foundation, High 5 Sports Nutrition, Erdinger, Aftershokz, Yorkshire Evening Post, Radio Aire,Up & Running and bananakick.
Mr Heald’s fundraising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andi-Heald27