Cancer patient flies dad who saved his life 6600 miles away around the world – Birmingham Live

Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:47 am

A dad who saved the life of a cancer patient 6,600 miles away was flown around the world on a trip of a lifetime by his grateful recipient - who tracked him down.

Milton Becker, 69, was close to death and in desperate need of a bone marrow donor when a two-and-a-half year global search linked him with an anonymous Welsh man.

Emyr Williams, 54, was a near-perfect match, and his bone marrow was flown to Canada and given to Milton, who was declared cancer free.

The pair were linked up by the donation database and grew close via phone calls and Facebook messages.

And last year he invited retired carpenter Emyr to Canada for a two week body">

A dad who saved the life of a cancer patient 6,600 miles away was flown around the world on a trip of a lifetime by his grateful recipient - who tracked him down.

Milton Becker, 69, was close to death and in desperate need of a bone marrow donor when a two-and-a-half year global search linked him with an anonymous Welsh man.

Emyr Williams, 54, was a near-perfect match, and his bone marrow was flown to Canada and given to Milton, who was declared cancer free.

The pair were linked up by the donation database and grew close via phone calls and Facebook messages.

And last year he invited retired carpenter Emyr to Canada for a two week $15,000 (8,835) trip around Alberta and the Rocky Mountains.

Meeting him for the first time at the airport, wearing a Welsh dragon T-shirt and a Wales flag, they formed an instant bond.

Milton said he's "indebted" to his hero - and is planning a UK trip.

Dad-of-three Emyr, from Lampeter, Wales, said: "It was surreal to be out there.

"There's this bond between us like no other.

"It was only when we went out there that we really understood how close to death Milton was.

"One of his friends said he had been finalising plans to be at his funeral.

"He was literally on death's door.

"For something that required no real effort at all saved that great man's life.

"And to have the pleasure of meeting him in the flesh and to be introduced to his family was just an honour."

Granddad-of-two Milton, from Alberta, Canada, added: "We got on so well and I just thought I've got to thank this guy.

"I didn't want him to spend a penny. It was my treat.

"It's not about the money. What he did was priceless.

"I'm forever indebted to the guy."

Milton was diagnosed with stage 4 leukaemia in 2010 but after unsuccessful chemotherapy he was told a bone marrow transplant was the only means of survival.

Doctors searched across Canada but were unsuccessful and begun their two-and-a-half year worldwide search for a donor.

In early 2013, Emyr - who had been registered on the blood transfusion register for several years - was found to be a near-perfect match.

Emyr said: "A lady called me one day to say 'would you be interested in donating your stem cells?

"She went on to say there was a guy in Canada with leukaemia and that I was a 99.9999 per cent match with him.

"I just thought why not.

"It doesn't cost me anything and it can really change somebody's life."

The bone marrow was flown from Wales - with Milton receiving his long-awaited transfusion on his 63rd birthday, on 1st February 2013.

Former oil company lorry driver Milton said: "What he did was completely priceless.

"There's no better gift than the gift of life.

"And to get that on my birthday, well, it was a great feeling!"

A year after the transfusion Milton was told he was on the road to recovery but was kept in remission and monitored by doctors for the next two years.

In 2016, three years after the blood transfusion, Milton was deemed cancer-free.

It led nurses to ask Milton if he would like to know who his donor was - which he accepted straight away.

They got in touch with Emyr - who'd been given bi-annual anonymous updates - who agreed his details could be passed on.

Emyr said: "A few days later I had this call from an international number.

"I remember it as clear as day.

"He phoned me up and said; 'Emyr, my name is Milton and I just want to say how thankful I am'.

"From then on we just hit it off.

"What makes me laugh is he always forgets his Facebook password so he's a complete technophobe.

"We speak through his children on Facebook.

"We mostly speak about our family."

Milton said: "I couldn't turn up the chance to thank the guy who gave me life!

"I started off by thanking him and we had a great chat.

"I told him I would be forever grateful and wanted to keep in touch."

The two then added each other on Facebook and soon became good friends with weekly messages and monthly phone calls.

Then two years later Milton phoned Emyr to ask if he and his family would be interested in flying out to Canada for a two-week holiday.

Emyr said: "He asked me during one of our phone calls.

"I had never been to Canada and thought it would just be great to meet each other face-to-face."

Emyr flew out with his wife and teenage daughter last September 2019 to start the two-week itinerary around Alberta and the Rocky Mountains.

Emyr said: "He was there at the airport with a Welsh dragon on his T-shirt and a Welsh flag.

"You couldn't miss them.

"We have beautiful mountains here in Wales but Canada was just something else.

"It was an absolutely incredible trip.

"He paid for it all.

"We stayed in cabins, had a party with his extended family, we drank, sat by the open fire, and toasted marshmallows."

Milton added: "One Sunday I took him to my church.

"People knew he was coming and the service and to my surprise Emyr got up and told the church about the successful operation.

"There were tears but it was just beautiful."

Now seven years on from the transfusion, the pair say they are thankful to have one another in each other's lives.

The pair still keep regular contact with one another, with Facebook messages, fortnightly phone calls and even FaceTimed each other on Christmas Day.

Emyr said: "They're planning on coming to Wales next year in June or July.

"We'll definitely go back out there again in a few years.

"Even though we're thousands of miles away, we're such great friends."

Milton said: "We still have our chit-chats and I'd love to go over to the UK.

5,000 (8,835) trip around Alberta and the Rocky Mountains.

Meeting him for the first time at the airport, wearing a Welsh dragon T-shirt and a Wales flag, they formed an instant bond.

Milton said he's "indebted" to his hero - and is planning a UK trip.

Dad-of-three Emyr, from Lampeter, Wales, said: "It was surreal to be out there.

"There's this bond between us like no other.

"It was only when we went out there that we really understood how close to death Milton was.

"One of his friends said he had been finalising plans to be at his funeral.

"He was literally on death's door.

"For something that required no real effort at all saved that great man's life.

"And to have the pleasure of meeting him in the flesh and to be introduced to his family was just an honour."

Granddad-of-two Milton, from Alberta, Canada, added: "We got on so well and I just thought I've got to thank this guy.

"I didn't want him to spend a penny. It was my treat.

"It's not about the money. What he did was priceless.

"I'm forever indebted to the guy."

Milton was diagnosed with stage 4 leukaemia in 2010 but after unsuccessful chemotherapy he was told a bone marrow transplant was the only means of survival.

Doctors searched across Canada but were unsuccessful and begun their two-and-a-half year worldwide search for a donor.

In early 2013, Emyr - who had been registered on the blood transfusion register for several years - was found to be a near-perfect match.

Emyr said: "A lady called me one day to say 'would you be interested in donating your stem cells?

"She went on to say there was a guy in Canada with leukaemia and that I was a 99.9999 per cent match with him.

"I just thought why not.

"It doesn't cost me anything and it can really change somebody's life."

The bone marrow was flown from Wales - with Milton receiving his long-awaited transfusion on his 63rd birthday, on 1st February 2013.

Former oil company lorry driver Milton said: "What he did was completely priceless.

"There's no better gift than the gift of life.

"And to get that on my birthday, well, it was a great feeling!"

A year after the transfusion Milton was told he was on the road to recovery but was kept in remission and monitored by doctors for the next two years.

In 2016, three years after the blood transfusion, Milton was deemed cancer-free.

It led nurses to ask Milton if he would like to know who his donor was - which he accepted straight away.

They got in touch with Emyr - who'd been given bi-annual anonymous updates - who agreed his details could be passed on.

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