‘He put himself through the wringer for me’ – stem cell transplant boost for Paul (35) facing cancer battle as brother is a match

By | June 20, 2021

Brotherly love certainly knows no bounds for one Co Tyrone family.

s a fit young Strabane man faced a third battle with cancer, his four younger brothers immediately stepped in to help.

Paul Carlin (35) is currently receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an illness that he has faced down twice before.

Despite receiving the all-clear 13 years earlier, last October Paul was devastated to learn the disease had come back.

He was just 18 when first diagnosed with the cancer, which then returned three years later.

Paul, who had settled and made a new life for himself in Manchester, returned home following his latest diagnosis.

After seven months of chemotherapy at Altnagelvin Hospital, the next stage of treatment for Paul is a stem cell transplant, the Strabane Chronicle reported.

Determined to help, his four brothers all came forward to be tested as a donor, but only one, Conor (31), was a match. “I had a stem cell transplant before when I was 18, and with having had chemo I was told the chances of getting enough stem cells from myself were slim to none, so each of my four younger brothers got tested,” Paul told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Each brother had a 20pc chance of being a match, and thankfully Conor was that match.

“All of them were willing to put themselves through the wringer for me so I’m delighted it has worked out.”

Earlier this year Conor and his team-mates at Strabane Athletic Football Club launched a major fundraising campaign to assist the family with the medical expenses they face as Paul undergoes intensive treatment.

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A GoFundMe page was set up and donations soon began to pour in, with thousands raised within the first week of being launched.

Fundraising events to help with Paul’s treatment, travel, medicines and accommodation included a 5k walk/run and several raffles.

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Strabane, they eventually raised more than £31,500.

Paul is preparing to undergo the treatment at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital next month.

“In a few weeks Conor and I will both be going to get the cells harvested, then we’ll be sent back home,” he explained.

“I’ll then have to wait for a bed to become available at the Royal to isolate for a month to make sure I don’t pick up any infections beforehand.

“It’s impossible to put into words the huge love and support we as a family have received from the people of Strabane.”

For Conor, when it came to helping out his big brother, there was no hesitation.

“I found out last week that I was the match and I was delighted,” he said.

It was a no-brainer to help Paul in this latest battle and anyone else would do the same.

“You’d do it for a stranger if you were told they were a match, never mind your older brother.

“Paul has talked me through the whole process so now I just want to have it done so we can get him on his next step to recovery.

“The town has really come out and supported us in this and we are very humbled.”

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