From strangers to best friends, a stem cell transplant recipient was asked by the man who saved his life to be his best man. The two men, Brett Dingwall and Paul Rogers, became friends following the transplant.
Brett Dingwall was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia more than a decade ago. He survived the illness thanks to a stem cell donation from a man called Paul Rogers. Donors and recipients are bound by a two-year period of anonymity where names and details are not disclosed to either party. However, Dingwall and Rogers struck up a friendship after this window of time had passed.
A boat builder by profession, Dingwall was diagnosed with AML in 2006 while on vacation in Monaco. Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital said without a stem cell transplant from a matched unrelated donor, the chances of Mr. Dingwall surviving were slim. Rogers, age 51, was found to be a tissue match.
For the first two years, the two exchanged notes anonymously. The correspondence included a thank you card and a Christmas card from Dingwall. When the anonymity period was over, the two, who lived quite close to each other, decided to meet up. For Rogers, the stem cell donor, the meeting was pretty emotional as he had lost his own father to leukemia.
Over the years, Dingwall and Rogers kept in touch, spending time on the former’s boat. When donor Rogers was going to get married, he decided there was no better candidate for best man than Dingwall, a friend he is incredibly proud of.