Brother's bone marrow is best Christmas present ever for Frank Robbins
THE bond between these brothers is even stronger than before – after one gave the other the gift of life this Christmas.
Frank Robbins feels "glad to be alive" after his brother donated bone marrow for a transplant to treat his leukaemia.
Having had only a one-in-four-chance of finding a match in his family, Frank was amazed to discover that all three of his brothers were.
Younger sibling Robert – who recently moved from his home in Grimsby to Scunthorpe to be closer to Frank – stepped forward, and now the Robbins family is celebrating the news that the leukaemia is in remission.
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Frank, 51, said: "It is a Christmas miracle and it is a miracle to find three matches in one family. I am just glad to be alive.
"It was the best Christmas present I could have received. Something like this makes you realise that things like bills aren't worth worrying about; you have to live every day as if it's your last."
Robert, 42, said he jumped at the chance to help save his brother's life.
"I am just glad that I could help him. There was a worry he might not make it," he said.
"I was never scared – I just wanted to help."
Rose, their 71-year-old mum, told of her upset at the initial diagnosis.
She said: "I was devastated and it really upset me when he got really ill. But you never give up hope."
Frank had previously undergone four rounds of chemotherapy and said he was told he could not have any more. But earlier this year and six months after Frank was diagnosed, Robert travelled to Jimmy's Teaching Hospital in Leeds, where he had injections to increase his blood stem cells.
Robert had to have the same injections for two days, in a process which involved him staying still and holding up both of his arms for five hours, while his bone marrow was transferred.
The operation, which took place at Nottingham City Hospital, replaced damaged and destroyed bone marrow with healthy stem cells.
He will need a top-up of bone marrow, as he only has 88 per cent of Robert's in his body.
But for now, one of Frank's main goals is to return to his job working at the Tata Steel plant, and he has encouraged people to sign up to the bone marrow register.
For more information, visit www.nhsbt. nhs.uk/bonemarrow/