Best Friend's Cancer Battle Inspires Student's Donor Decision

Back to news listings

The Vice President (Education) of Worcester Students’ Union is donating his stem cells to save the life of a stranger, after his best friend beat Leukaemia.

Lewis Arnold joined the stem cell donor register during a charity ball, hosted by his friend Samrick Singh Bahia, a fellow student.

Samrick was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in January 2013, during his second year at the University of Worcester, where he is studying for a Business degree.

“Sam and I became friends during my first year at university,” said Lewis, from Didcot, Oxfordshire. “I joined the rugby society, which Sam was already a member of, as he was a year above me.

“When he was diagnosed it was really tough, but thankfully, after lots of treatment, he made a full recovery.”

Samrick, from Wolverhampton, started a charity, Singh4Samrick, which has raised thousands of pounds for Delete Blood Cancer and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

It was during a charity ball in October last year that Lewis, and many other friends were swabbed and joined the register of donors. According to Delete Blood Cancer’s website, there is a 4% chance that a potential donor matches a patient within the next 10 years after registering.

“I guess I never really expected to be contacted again and to be found to be a match for someone, especially so quickly,” Lewis said. “But when I got the call I was 100% sure straight away that I wanted to go ahead with it. How can you turn down the chance to save someone’s life, for the sake of a week or so of discomfort for me?”

Lewis had to undergo further tests and will now go on to donate his stem cells in early September.

“Samrick has been such an inspiration,” said the 21-year-old. “What he has achieved, in beating the Leukaemia and establishing the charity, is just amazing. I just got lucky that my stem cells were a match for someone; I don’t really feel like I have done anything special. ”

Approximately 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a suitable donor in the family and rely on the register to find an unrelated donor, for many that is their last hope of survival.

Lewis will graduate from the University of Worcester with a degree in Sports Studies, during a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral in November. He is now working as the Vice President (Education) at Worcester Students’ Union.

Samrick, age 22, is due to complete his degree after Christmas after having to defer his studies while under-going treatment.