An Orkney man has travelled almost 600 miles to donate stem cells to help save a cancer sufferer.
Rob Slight, who lives in Stromness, said he had “pretty much forgotten” he had signed up to the Anthony Nolan register years ago until a call came through alerting he was a potential match.
The 29-year-old, who is a self-employed diving instructor and part-time barman, headed straight to Sheffield to undergo his operation – a journey which took two days and involved a plane, an overnight stay and three trains.
It was made all the more challenging due to the coronavirus restrictions, and Mr Slight admitted it was eerie to arrive at an empty station in Sheffield.
Mr Slight, who stayed with his parents in nearby Scotton to isolate prior to the procedure, said: “I had pretty much forgotten that I was on the donor list as it had been a few years since signing up.
“The initial feeling was surprise followed by a determination to try and help whoever it is that I am matched with despite the pandemic.
“Donating during the pandemic was quite a strange experience, especially living up on the Orkney islands. The level of infections at the time was extremely low, so we felt very safe and cut off from it all.
“Going from Orkney down the whole country to Sheffield felt a bit like leaving the safe zone and heading to danger.”
Mr Slight said the whole process was “relaxed and unobtrusive”, although it did result in pangs of nausea.
He added: “Overall the donation process was less painful than I expected.
“The one side effect I had was a slight feeling of nausea, but they give you some tablets to help stop this feeling, meaning I could quite happily sit there watching Netflix or reading my book.
“At the end of the donation, they like you to wait for a while to check that you are OK and do a blood pressure check.
“Once this was done I headed back to the hotel for a celebratory Domino’s Pizza as we can’t get these on Orkney.”
Mr Slight, who is currently furloughed, said it had been the “ideal time” for him to be called up and that he hopes the recipient makes a recovery.
He encouraged others to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register. Visit www.anthonynolan.org