Amy and Andy know why it is a wonderful world . . .

Andy Hall with Amy Stuart, who he donated bone marrow to
Andy Hall with Amy Stuart, who he donated bone marrow to

A special framed picture has pride of place in the hallway of Andy Hall’s family home in Preesall.

It is a reminder of how his actions 18 years ago helped to save an American woman’s life.

Amy Stuart received a bone marrow transplant from Andy in 1996 and has gone on to marry and adopt two children.

The two families met up for the first time this summer and Andy, 50, a cornet player with Pilling Jubilee Silver Band, was thrilled with the thoughtful music-related gift presented by Amy and her family.

It features musician Louis Armstrong on the cover of the music of What A Wonderful World – a tune close to Amy’s heart because she chose to have it played at her wedding to husband Brian Budke.

But this is a version personalised for Andy. A specially written inscription, adapted from the words of the hit song notes: “I heard my babies cry, I watch them grow,

“Because of your gift, I love them so,

“And I’m grateful to you, For A Wonderful World.”

The two families finally met up in Indianapolis, with Amy and family,including Brian and adopted youngsters Eleanor (Nora) and her brother Reece, making the lengthy journey from Kansas to meet them.

The story began when Andy worked at insurance company J.A Redman and Co (now T.I.C.) in Knott End.

“I, along with several of my work colleagues, joined the Anthony Nolan Trust Donors Register following a recruitment drive by a local Rotary Club in Preston,” he said.

“ In January 1996 I received a letter from the Trust advising that I was a possible match for someone.”

He travelled to London to give his donation so it could be flown straight to the American recipient and recalled:“I later found out that the recipient was a young woman by the name of Amy Stuart who was 23 and had been disgnosed with Chronic Mylogeneous Leukaemia two years earlier.

“In the week preceding the transplant Amy underwent seven days of chemotherapy and entire body radiation. She was virtually on the brink of death. Her skin and blood cells were destroyed until there was no trace of her DNA.”

The transplant took place on March 23, 1996. But Amy developed what’s known as Graft v Host disease was so poorly that at one point she had 29 blood transfusions within a week.

He recalled: “She was in and out of hospital until December of that year. But Amy was a fighter and with the support of her wonderful family and strong faith in God she made a remarkable recovery.”

In the first few years following the transplant communication was via the The Anthony Nolan Trust, until by mutual consent direct communication was allowed.

They have been communicating directly since 2002 and Andy has been updated with photos of her wedding newspaper articles from when she was ill and “some lovely letters from Amy’s mum expressing her thanks for saving her daughter’s life.”

It was in March, after communicating via email and Facebook once or twice a year, that Andy shared the news he and his family were visiting relatives in Indiana and asked if could they meet up.

“Amy responded straight away saying yes even though they lived some 10 hours drive away in Kansas.”

As for his 2008 donation he reported: “I am pleased to say that the last update I received in 2009 advised that the recipient, who was a male, was rated at 90 per cent progress on the Karnofsky scale, which indicates a good quality of life.”