Rare blood virus spurs Tangmere family to raise awareness

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A MAN who nearly died after a contracting a rare blood virus has completed a cycle ride from London to Chichester to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood.

Gareth Sanders, with parents Isobel, and Peter, who live in Tangmere, cycled more than 70 miles from Kings Hospital in London to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester on Sunday to highlight the importance of becoming a donor.

Mr Sanders, who now lives in Bristol, would have died had it not been for blood donors, which helped him beat Haemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, which affects the liver, bone marrow, and spleen, and causes a fall in the number of normal blood cells.

He was rushed to St Richard’s on Christmas Eve 2008,

“I hope it’s not all for nothing,” said the 23-year-old. “There is no way you can count if someone is giving blood.

“We got slightly sidetracked at one point and did a few miles over what we thought, we had no rain and a little bit of wind.We watched the news when we got home and we had cycled through the exact places in Croydon that were on fire only hours earlier.”

Mr Sanders said he wanted to thank everyone for their help and support.