Kirkcaldy firefighters' pride at donor children inspired by late colleague Gary Dall
Crew mates Graham Robertson and Rich Ogden were devastated when Gary Dall died in 2018 while waiting for a transplant after being diagnosed with blood cancer.
He travelled to Sheffield last November to donate his stem cells - just a year after Rich and his wife Gill supported their daughter Kirsty, 19, as she donated her stem cells after also proving a match.
The firefighters work together on Red Watch at Kirkcaldy Fire Station where Gary was also based.
Graham said: “It’s incredible to think there’s two people from Gary’s old station who have children who have been matched.
““To get a successful match and stem cell donation especially during Covid, I think will give some people hope, when they perhaps thought there was none.”
Rich added: “Our friend and colleague Gary has left an incredible legacy - and it’s hard to believe that two of our children have gone on to do this. It’s all because of Gary.”
Gary, who left behind wife Jennifer and four children, following a brave battle against myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, had teamed up with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Anthony Nolan to recruit donors to the stem cell register.
After hearing Gary’s story, Kirsty and Mitchell were inspired to join the register.
Mitchell said: “Physically, donating was a breeze. There are myths out there saying it’s painful and scary, but that’s not the case.
“I’d say to anyone who is having thoughts about joining the register that it’s honestly one of the best things you could do.”
Kirsty added: “Knowing you could potentially save someone’s life or give them more time or give them that chance … it’s an amazing feeling.”
Calum Bruce, Group Commander, is vice chair for the East area of the SFRS Anthony Nolan Partnership.
He said “Gary was a highly respected and admired friend and colleague. He spent 30 years of his life keeping his community safe and I am not surprised that he continues to inspire heroic actions from others.”
Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16-30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate.
They also carry out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant.
Amy Bartlett, Anthony Nolan development manager for Scotland says: “These are extraordinary times. Mitchell, like Kirsty before him, has done an extraordinary and incredibly selfless thing by giving someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder their best chance at survival.
“We also want to extend our gratitude to our partners of eleven years, SFRS, and to Gary’s family for their drive and determination to make sure no one should die while waiting for a donor. Without you seventy-six patients may never have found their match, you’ve given those people hope and a second chance of life.’