Tyne & Wear

Bone marrow survivor's wedding vow

Ian Brown and Rick Haines Image copyright Ian Brown
Image caption The pair have been friends for years and have enjoyed family holidays

A bone marrow transplant survivor has kept a vow he made 24 years ago to the man who saved his life, by inviting him to his daughter's wedding.

Ian Brown, 59, of Morpeth, Northumberland, saved Rick Haines' life when his donated marrow was flown to the United States in 1991.

Now Mr Brown has made the trip to attend the wedding of Marissa Haines.

He himself tied the knot last week to second wife Lorraine Scott and is making the trip part of his honeymoon.

Image copyright Ian Brown
Image caption Ian Brown first met Mary and Rick Haines five years after the transplant

Mr Brown, who was widowed in 2011, said: "Basically, before his transplant Rick was terminally ill and only had a few weeks to live and his biggest regret was that he would never walk his little girl - who was three or four at the time - down the aisle.

"He asked me many years ago how he could ever repay me for donating the bone marrow that saved his life and my answer was to let me see that very thing happen."

Mr Brown joined the Anthony Nolan register in the 1980s when his nine-month-old son Michael, now 34, was being treated for testicular cancer.

In 1991, he received a call to say he was a match for a patient in the USA.

He travelled to a clinic in London and his marrow was immediately flown to the USA on Concorde.

The transplant took place that evening.

Engineer Mr Haines, aged 44 at the time, was suffering from aplastic anaemia when he had the transplant.

Mr Haines, from Delaware, later contacted Mr Brown to thank him and the pair first met in 1996. They have since had family holidays together.

Mr Brown said: "We were in contact pretty much immediately and wrote letters, although everything was anonymous and censored - it was a bit like being in a prison camp. We were then asked if we wanted to be properly in contact after six months and we did.

"Five years later in Florida we finally met up, which was a tremendous experience."

Mr Haines' daughter Marissa is due to marry her fiance Dustin later on Saturday in Pennsylvania.

Image copyright Ian Brown
Image caption Newly-weds Lorraine and Ian Brown are making the trip part of their honeymoon
Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Marissa, centre, with her parents Rick and Mary
Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Marissa with her fiance, Dustin

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