Scots Euros fan says blood is ‘100% German’ after lifesaving transplant

A Scotland fan travelling to Munich to watch his team play in the first game of the Euros has told how his life was saved by a bone marrow transplant from a German donor almost 25 years ago.

Ally Brown, 41, who lives in Haddington, East Lothian, was given a bone marrow transplant aged 16.

Prior to that, he had four years of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a type of blood cancer – which had reoccurred three times.

He said: “I’ll be cheering on Scotland, but my blood is my German donor’s blood.”

Scotland will take on Germany in their first game of the 2024 Euros on Friday.

Mr Brown said: “It’s dead exciting we are playing against Germany in the tournament opener and I’m so lucky to have a ticket, I can’t wait.

“My blood is 100% German so the country will always be close to my heart. But I’ll be shouting and singing for Scotland on Friday night.”

Mr Brown received a bone marrow transplant from a German woman through stem cell charity Anthony Nolan, which was founded in 1974.

It matches donors and patients and was set up by Shirley Nolan to find a match for her son, Anthony, who had a rare blood disorder.

While a match was not found for Anthony, who died in 1979 aged seven, the charity has since facilitated more than 26,500 transplants for people around the world.

Speaking about his donor, Mr Brown said they keep in touch on Facebook and use Google Translate to communicate.

“My donor has given me the most wonderful gift. She’s given me 24 more years of life and counting, and I am so grateful,” he added.

“We have swapped pictures, and my partner sent her a message to say thanks, too. Saving a life isn’t just a gift for that one person, it’s for their family and friends too.

“That’s why it’s so important that everyone who can donate is registered with Anthony Nolan so that other people’s lives can be saved, like mine was.”

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “It’s wonderful to see Ally going to cheer Scotland on in Germany, the home of his lifesaving donor.

“Sadly, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer every 13 minutes and for people with blood cancer or a blood disorder, a stem cell transplant can be their last chance of survival.

“As the Euros are kicking off, we’re calling on football fans aged 16-30 to join our One Million United campaign by joining the stem cell register.

“Just a quick swab is all it takes to join our team of potential lifesavers and you could end up giving someone like Ally a second chance of life.”