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England Fan Missed Euro 2020 Semi-Final To Donate Stem Cells

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England Fan Missed Euro 2020 Semi-Final To Donate Stem Cells

A selfless England fan turned down tickets to the Euro 2020 semi-final with Denmark so that he could save someone's life by donating stem cells and bone marrow.

Sam Astley, from Dudley, West Midlands, was over the moon when he found out that his girlfriend Beth Hill had won tickets for what turned out to be an historic match.

However, the 24-year-old gave up the chance to attend after finding out he was a match for someone waiting for a donor on the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

And he would do it all over again if he had the opportunity.

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"Life is more important than a football game at the end of the day," he said.

"No football game beats saving someone's life."

Sam Astley gave up his ticket for England's Euro 2020 semi-final so that he could donate stem cells. Credit: SWNS
Sam Astley gave up his ticket for England's Euro 2020 semi-final so that he could donate stem cells. Credit: SWNS

But if that wasn't enough, Sam is also set to donate a litre of bone marrow this week.

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He added: "Somebody's waiting for the donation but we're not sure which part of the world they're from."

Sam and Beth, who also missed the match as she was self-isolating, donated their tickets to relatives instead.

He signed up to the register at a memorial football match that had been organised in memory of Olly Wilkes, who took his own life at the age of just 22.

Olly's father Simon Wilkes suffers from a blood disorder and has been trying to encourage more young people to donate stem cells.

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Speaking about Sam's kind gesture, Simon said: "It's a once in a lifetime thing to win that.

Sam has been branded a hero for his kind gesture. Credit: SWNS
Sam has been branded a hero for his kind gesture. Credit: SWNS

"It's wonderful what he's going to do. He was already sacrificing work time and now he's sacrificing the chance of a lifetime."

Rebecca Pritchard, director of register development at the Anthony Nolan charity, called Sam a 'hero'.

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"Sam has done an extraordinary and incredibly selfless thing by putting the needs of his recipient, above his own pleasure," she said.

"What a hero. By doing this he's giving someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder their best chance at survival and we cannot thank him enough.

"Every person who, like Sam, joins the register, has the potential to help save someone in desperate need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant."

He is now hoping to be able to cheer Harry Kane and the team on at Wembley in the final. Credit: SWNS
He is now hoping to be able to cheer Harry Kane and the team on at Wembley in the final. Credit: SWNS
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Sam and Beth are now hoping to buy tickets for the final against Italy on Sunday (11 July).

Even ex-England striker Gary Lineker has shared their story, urging the English FA to do something for the couple.

The charity is desperate to find more men aged 16-30 to join the Anthony Nolan register, as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate.

Anyone interested in signing up or finding out more can go online here.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS/LADbible

Topics: Gary Lineker, hero, UK News, Football, Daily Ladness, Euro 2020, Inspirational, England, Feels, Gareth Southgate, Health

Dominic Smithers
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