Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Funeral director offers gift of life to a stranger


David Capper who bravely donated his bone marrow. US4207

A BRAVE Dunmurry Funeral Director has offered someone he doesn't even know the gift of life.

David Capper of Elwood and Capper offered his bone marrow for transplant through the Anthony Nolan Trust and underwent his operation in London, last month. David made the selfless decision 14 years ago to give his bone marrow to help someone else as he sat in the doctor's surgery during a routine visit. He spotted a leaflet and registered with the charity simply because he wanted to make a difference to someone else's life.

Apart from receiving the odd email from the charity he thought little else of it.

Then six months ago David (32) from Blackskull, received word to say a recipient was in need of his bone marrow. David flew over in May to the Royal Free Hospital in London where he underwent an extensive medical check.

In June the harvest was done and David returned back to Northern Ireland waiting to be called back for the operation.

Three times he was called and three times his operation was cancelled because the recipient was too ill to undergo the transplant.

Despite the frustration David insisted in going ahead with it

"The charity would ask me if I was still all-right to go ahead with it," said David. "I was determined simply because it wasn't his fault that he fell ill and it would not have been fair on him if I changed my mind.

"If something had happened to him I would have felt very responsible."

When he received the final date of September 25 he had to go through the medical again in London.

He went through the operation on a Wednesday and the bone marrow transplant was performed on the Thursday.

After the operation David was uncomfortable and his back was in pain for some weeks but has no regrets.

"I have the satisfaction of knowing I have done something to help save someone else's life," he said. "The only discomfort I had was an aching back but it was worth it.

"If I had to do it all again there would be no question. I would encourage anyone thinking of doing it to go ahead It is just a simple procedure and you are saving someones life or helping make someone's life better."

Anthony Nolan Trust spokesperson Robert Spigel said it was 'really important' for people aged between 18 and 40 to commit themselves to the Trust.

"There are currently 7000 on the register waiting for a 'match', that is finding a donor whose tissue-type is compatible with their own. You might be the only person in the world with compatible tissue-type for a patient with a life-threatening illness," he added.

"For patients who need a bone marrow transplant it is usually their last hope of survival, so a donor can really offer a hope of life to someone.

"It is so important that they register and they could be on the register for 20 years so it is also important to remain committed as their bone marrow could be someone's final chance."

Mr. Spigel also said the Trust had a particular shortage of young men and people from black and minority ethnic communities. He urged anyone who would like to join the register to do so by logging on to the website. For more information log on to or call 020 7284 1234.

Ulster Star