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Brave dad launches bid to find bone marrow donors in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:59 02 February 2011

James Metsoja, left, will be taking part in a 24 hour ping pong marathon at St.Georges Church in Colegate, Norwich on sunday to recruit bone marrow volunteers after his friend Andrew McFadyen, right, had life saving treatment

James Metsoja, left, will be taking part in a 24 hour ping pong marathon at St.Georges Church in Colegate, Norwich on sunday to recruit bone marrow volunteers after his friend Andrew McFadyen, right, had life saving treatment

Archant 2011

A father who made a remarkable recovery from cancer is trying to recruit as many bone marrow donors as possible with a 24-hour table tennis event.

Andrew McFadyen is hosting the day-long challenge that will see his friend, James Metsoja, play hundreds of ping-pong games at St George’s Church, Colegate.

The event was organised in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust after Mr McFadyen was given a life-saving bone marrow donation when he fell ill with aplastic anaemia.

The 35-year-old, of Swardeston, near Mulbarton, said: “I decided to do this event because it was a great opportunity to give something back to those who helped me.

“It was quite an intense, hard time for me, but I am just really grateful that I have been given this chance from a donor who does not even know me.”

The pair have already invited the Norwich Fire Service and table tennis teams from City College and the UEA to take part in non-stop games from 11am on Sunday February 13 and finishes at 11am on Monday February 14.

And they hope that the hundreds of invited guests will turn into bone marrow donors to help people suffering with life-threatening cancer. Mr Metsoja, a 27-year-old Butcher of Grove Road, Norwich, said: “I love playing ping-pong, and I am hoping to get at least 100 people to sign up to the bone marrow donor register as well as raise money for this amazing charity.”

Mr McFadyen, an art teacher from Wymondham High School, faced a gruelling nine-month wait to find a donor, which was interspersed by the birth of twin daughters in December 2010.

Eventually a match was found in Canada and chemotherapy treatment and a bone marrow transplant was carried out at the King’s College Hospital in London.

He is now recovering with the aim of returning to teaching in the autumn.

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