Perfect match: Lorne gives stranger a second chance at life

Lorne Gillies is donating bone marrow through the Anthony Nolan Charity to help save a stranger's life

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A Taynuilt man is about to make a donation that could be a stranger’s last chance of survival.

More than two decades after a bone marrow transplant saved his big brother’s life from Leukaemia, Lorne Gillies is thanking that act of kindness by becoming a donor too.

When a random London number flashed up on his phone in March this year, little did the 28-year-old know it was a call from a lifesaving charity that he signed up with five years ago – telling him he was a possible match for a patient in need.

It was Lorne’s mum Ishbel who suggested he and  sister Kirsty, who lives in Kilmelford,  sign up as potential donors with The Anthony Nolan Charity, but neither heard anything back after sending off blood samples from a DIY home kit that came in the post.

‘It felt a bit alien four or five years after to have someone on the other end of the line out of the blue tell you that you could be about to save someone’s life,’ said the 28-year-old.

An Anthony Nolan Charity nurse later visited Lorne at home to take blood samples and after a couple of weeks he was invited to a London hospital for a pre-donation medical.

At the start of August he will make the journey south once again to give the donation which will be taken via a needle in his hip under general anaesthetic.

Lorne was expecting to donate stem cells but doctors have now told him the same patient needs his bone marrow instead.

He will have to stay over in hospital after the procedure and has been told it could take weeks to recover but after taking just one planned day off after he gets home, Lorne wants to be back at work as a labourer as soon as possible.

‘It wasn’t great when we were growing up. We know what it is like to have serious illness hang over you. Malcolm lost his teenage years being treated for Leukaemia in hospital. Mum was with him and dad worked away, so we were brought up by grandma and grandpa during the week then dad at the weekends, but we managed,’ said Lorne.

Malcolm is now a fit and healthy 40-year-old bus driver living in Soroba.

‘I hope my bone marrow will help give someone that gift of life too,’ said Lorne, who wants this story to inspire others to register with the Anthony Nolan Charity.

‘I know absolutely nothing about the person I’m donating to. It’s down to them if they ever want to meet me. I think they have up to eight years to make that decision. Just knowing I am giving them chance of new life is enough for me.

‘So far it’s all been straight forward. It’s a small price to pay to help someone who is in such desperate need of help,’ he added.

Lorne has been getting excellent support from the charity as a donor.

Founded in 1974 as the world’s first stem cell register, the Anthony Nolan Charity was motivated by a mother’s determination to save her son. More than 45 years later, three people a day are now given a second chance of life, thanks to generous funders and an ever-growing stem cell register.

To find out more about how you could help, go to