Hereford & Worcester

Bromsgrove cancer survivor cycling 800km to meet donor

Jonjo Rooney (right) with two of the cyclists accompanying him to Germany Image copyright Bpositive
Image caption Jonjo Rooney (right) will be accompanied by five other cyclists on the journey to Germany

A leukaemia survivor is to cycle 497 miles (800km) to meet the donor who saved his life.

Jonjo Rooney, originally from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, underwent a bone-marrow transplant seven years ago, at the age of 23.

He left from Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday and hopes to reach Hamelin, north Germany, on 13 September.

His German donor, Andreas Geppert, was just 18 when he donated his stem cells.

'Big German beer'

Mr Rooney is now in remission and wants to say thank you in person.

He said: "Ever since I discovered who my donor was, I've thought of him as my 'hero of Hamelin' and it became my quest to meet him.

"He seems a really, really amazing person. I don't really know what I'm going to say... a shake of a hand, probably a hug, maybe a few tears and I'll definitely buy him a big German beer, that's for sure."

Image copyright Bpositive
Image caption Seven years ago Jonjo Rooney underwent a bone marrow transplant at the QE Hospital hospital

Mr Rooney was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2006 and needed a stem cell transplant, despite months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In 2007 a suitable donor was found in Germany after a worldwide search by the Anthony Nolan charity.

The challenging journey to meet that donor, accompanied by five other cyclists, is also intended to raise awareness of the bone marrow register and fund raise for three blood cancer charities: Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Anthony Nolan and Bpositive.

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