THE husband of a brave cancer survivor who was given a second chance at life after finding a matching stem cell donor decided to go the extra mile to help other leukaemia patients.

Patrick Byrnes, from Great Sankey, completed the 100-mile Tour de Manc bike ride along with friend Tom Beech to thank the medical team at The Christie Hospital who have saved his wife Nicola’s life on countless occasions. 

In June 2015 Nicola was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – just weeks after the couple had returned home from Antigua to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

Since then, the 47-year-old has faced the fight of her life.

Patrick, 45, said: “To say it changed our lives is an understatement. 

“Nicola has been treated on the palatine haematology ward and the haematology and transplant day unit at The Christie Hospital since. 

“It’s our second home and the medical team at The Christie have saved my wife’s life on multiple occasions.”

The first six months following the diagnosis were a difficult time for the couple as Nicola was having chemotherapy to get her into remission so she could receive a stem cell transplant.

After months of fighting for her life, Nicola was given the news she was hoping for – the search to find a donor had uncovered a match.

A man from Germany had donated his stem cells to give Nicola a new immune system. 

“It was one of the best days of my life when I found out,” said Patrick.

“I was always worried that we wouldn’t find a match or it wouldn’t work out the way we hoped.

“Once we discovered the match the most difficult bit was getting to the transplant stage.

“There were times where her life was under threat and she had to really fight.”

Patrick and Tom, who both trained for several months to compete in the bike ride, have so far raised more than £2,600.

“It has been a rollercoaster,” said Patrick.

“It’s a year and four months since her transplant but she’s fragile.

“She has a recurring problem which can land her back in hospital at any time.

“She’s alive and we take it one day at a time.”

Patrick has also issued a heartfelt thank you to those who have helped the couple along the way.

“Without the donor’s selfless act and without the brilliance of the medical team, my wife wouldn’t be here today,” said Patrick.

“By doing this ride I’m trying to give a little back to all those countless people that have worked together to ensure that my wife and I have a life together today.”

Money will be divided between DKMS UK and HATS Support.

To donate click here.