Middlesbrough blood donor meets man she saved in Germany – The Northern Echo

A TEESSIDE woman, who three years ago donated blood stem cells to a stranger in Germany, met the man she saved for the very first time as he made the thousand-mile round trip to thank her in person.

Husband, father and grandfather Siegfried Siggi Wahl, 71, from Hattersheim in Germany, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2016.

After initial treatment proved unsuccessful, doctors told him his best chance of survival was a blood stem cell donation from a person with identical tissue type.

Luckily for him, just six months earlier his genetic twin, 50-year-old Jackie Wray, who runs a wedding venue in Great Ayton, signed up with donor charity DKMS in 2015 after seeing an appeal.

Shortly after being identified as Siggis perfect match, Jackie began the process of attending medicals and then donating her blood stem cells.

However, back in Germany, Siggis problems were not over. To prepare Siggi for the transfusion, his doctors began to administer a strong dose of chemotherapy to destroy his existing blood stem cells, ready to welcome the new ones, and if he did not receive Jackies healthy blood stem cells quickly, he was unlikely to survive.

As a courier arrived to escort Jackies blood stem cells from London to Frankfurt, news broke of the 2016 terrorist attack in France, and the courier was not able to leave the UK.

After an agonising wait, Jackies blood stem cells finally arrived in Frankfurt, and the transplant successfully went ahead.

UK law states whilst donors and their patients can communicate following the transplant, it must remain anonymous for the first two years. After this, if both parties are in agreement, their identities can be revealed and they can make arrangements to meet.

I loved receiving cards from Siggi, said Jackie. It used to make me cry every time. I would think thank god hes still alive.'

All I knew of Siggi is that he had a son and daughter my age, and a grandson and he used to play ice hockey when he was a young man. Its one of the reasons I was so excited to meet him, to hear his life story.

When he and his wife arrived at my house, there were lots of tears and lots of cuddling. They had made me a photo album with pictures of Siggi during his treatment and they bought me a little angel necklace because they say Im his angel. It was just so lovely and I will treasure it forever.

Siggi added: "It was beautiful. We hugged, and we both cried. It was like a fairy tale.

Jackie will come and visit me and my family in Germany next year to celebrate my birthday. She is just a good hearted person.

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Middlesbrough blood donor meets man she saved in Germany - The Northern Echo

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