IT Consultant, Damien Cross of Dalmeny is a devoted family man who in his spare time trains regularly to compete in Tough Mudder events.
Tough Mudder events are hard core 20kn-long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test all-round strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. The event has 25 obstacles including ice, fire, electric shocks and literally miles of mud.
Recently though Damien’s training has been put on hold while he donated his bone-marrow.
Damien has been on the Bone Marrow register for 12 years now and during that time he has been contacted twice. He was contacted in 2002, but ended up not being a close enough match.
Recently he was contacted again and tests revealed he was a perfect match for the South Australian recipient.
“When they contacted me I told them that I was still happy to donate,” he said.
“They asked me if I was healthy so I sent her the link for the Tough Mudder to which she replied that I was obviously healthy and possibly insane!”
Damien said that the process is straight forward with a blood test to confirm the match.
“I flew to Sydney and went to Westmead for tests, more blood, an ECG and x-rays, stayed overnight and then flew home.
The Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry pays for the expenses incurred.
On the day before the donation, Damien and his wife flew to Sydney and stayed overnight in hotel near Westmead Hospital.
Damien was required to fast from midnight and was taken to theatre at 8.20am. At 11am Damien woke up in recovery after they had extracted 1.21 litres of bone marrow through four holes in the back of his hips.
“The site was a little painful and stiff, but nothing too bad,” Damien said, “I didn’t need pain relief until late that night.”
“There was some bleeding from the harvest sites, but I was able to go back to the hotel at 5pm.
“I spent the next day lying on my stomach watching the Australian cricket team get taken apart by Sri Lanka!” he said.
Damien and his wife flew home that night but it wasn’t an easy trip.
There was a large amount of turbulence from the cold change coming through the 46 degree weather that day.
“The pilot reassured us that the plane could take it, I wasn't too sure about me though!” Damien said.
“Over the next few days the soreness and stiffness reduced and now three weeks later I have resumed my training for the Tough Mudder event in October.