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Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 08:36 GMT


Leukaemia patient gets transplant lifeline

John Gravell before the transplant operation

A leukaemia patient who traced his long-lost brother for a life-saving bone marrow operation only to find he was not a perfect match has finally had his transplant - from an unnamed donor.

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher reports from Leicester Royal Infirmary
Fifty-one-year-old John Gravell from Leicestershire had the bone marrow transplant operation last Thursday and is said to be in a stable condition.

His unnamed donor was found in Bristol after an earlier nationwide search for Mr Gravell's brother Barry.

It was thought Barry was Mr Gravell's last chance of survival, but the two brothers had not seen each other for 20 years.

Barry was tracked down after Mr Gravell's wife Denise contacted the Missing Persons Bureau and the DVLA and the case attracted huge publicity.

Weeks to live

However, it was found that Barry's bone marrow was not a suitable match and Mr Gravell was given weeks to live.

He had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in May.

The BBC's Cary Johnston on John Gravell
However, doctors found the unnamed donor in November and the transplant operation took place at Leicestershire Royal Infirmary last Thursday.

Consultant haematologist Dr Mike Hutchinson said: "John's health is currently as well as we would expect it to be at this early stage in the transplant timescale."

Bone marrow transplants have a 50% chance of long-term success.

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