A DUNFERMLINE man is getting on his bike for charity 10 years after they provided a donor for a life-saving stem cell transplant.

William Black, from Milesmark, will saddle up for Anthony Nolan at this month's Westfield Health British Transplant Games – and for Team GB at the world event in August – a decade on from being diagnosed with a rare disorder that was believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

In March 2009, the 32-year-old was found to have Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH); a potentially fatal condition that is most commonly found in infants in which the body reacts inappropriately to a 'trigger', usually an infection, leading to specialised white blood cells becoming over-activated, causing severe inflammation and damage to tissues such as the liver, spleen and bone marrow.

William, whose consultant told him that his was the first case of HLH in an adult he had seen, had been diagnosed with glandular fever before receiving the devastating news he had HLH.

He was told he needed a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor after chemotherapy failed to work and, after two perfect matches were identified by Anthony Nolan, he had a successful transplant six months later.

Since then, he has been raising money and awareness for the charity through cycling, leading him to compete in what will be his fifth British Transplant Games between July 25-28 in Newport, South Wales.

"I'd never heard of HLH," William said.

"It was pretty unknown in Scotland but Great Ormond Street (Hospital) had experienced it as it's more common in infants. The average survival time for HLH is two months, which is scary.

"I was diagnosed in March and had my transplant in September at the Beatson (Cancer Care Centre in Glasgow). You're putting your life in the hands of someone else, someone you don't know, so you invest a lot of trust.

"But I would've died without treatment; it's as simple as that. I've had constant support from Anthony Nolan, and family and friends, and want to give something back."

He continued: "Raising awareness is more important. I'd never heard of the charity – I was 22-years-old at that time – but it's now more common, and more people I speak to now are aware of them.

"I love competing and celebrating life after my transplant. It's a life I wouldn't have had without my transplant, so I think the event will mean more to me this year than ever due to celebrating a major milestone of 10 years post-transplant.

"I'm very passionate about the work Anthony Nolan do, so to be part of the team taking part in the Games means a great deal to me."

Solution architect William, who last year finished fourth in both the Time Trial and Road Race events, has his eyes on gold before pedalling to his first World Transplant Games in Gateshead, between August 17-24, where he will represent GB.

"It's amazing to be selected," he added.

"Because of my performance last year, I wasn't sure I'd make the GB team, but I'm very happy with that!

"This will be my fifth time at the British and I've won silver every year, apart from last year, where I placed fourth in my category. That makes me more determined this year!

"I'd like to at least make bronze in one event, however, my eyes are firmly set on a gold medal.

"I've never won gold at the games and to win gold on my anniversary year would really make me extremely happy."

Tom Bishop, senior patient services and information manager at Anthony Nolan, added: "The Games are a testament to the incredible spirit and determination of people who have gone through such a difficult and complicated recovery. This event demonstrates that many stem cell transplant recipients like William can go on to live rich, healthy and fulfilling lives.

"We’re over the moon for William, qualifying to represent his country at a world level is something few of us will ever do. Team Anthony Nolan will be cheering him on every step of the way."

To find out more about Anthony Nolan, or to join the stem cell register, visit www.anthonynolan.org.