A blood stem cell donor came face to face with the 14-year-old-boy he granted “new life” when he travelled to India.

Harshil Arora, a 30-year-old lawyer from Harrow, registered as a blood stem cell donor with blood cancer charity DKMS at a donor registration event in March 2015.

A few years later he received a call from the charity a few years later to say he was a potential match for someone and donated his blood stem cells.

The lawyer had the chance to meet the boy whose life he saved, Vansh Adhlakha, for the first time on World Blood Cancer Day on May 28.

Vansh, from Panipat, India, was told diagnosed with thalassemia in 2007. His parents were told his best chance of survival would be to find a blood stem cell donor - and he was found to be a genetic match with Mr Arora in 2017.

The meeting took place at Hotel ITC Gardenia, in Bangalore, India, to coincide with the launch of DKMS BMST Foundation India.

Due to strict guidelines the pair had not been able to meet beforehand. Harshil described the moment he met Vansh as overwhelming, emotional and amazing.

He said: “It’s an absolutely incredible process and I feel really privileged to have gone through it. I feel lucky to have been a match for Vansh and so pleased that I had the opportunity to meet him in person and that everything has worked out.”

Vansh said: “Before receiving the transplant I used to look very weak and people used to tell me all the time that I didn’t look well and ask what the problem was. It used to irritate me at that time.”

The four to six hours procedure required a peripheral blood stem cell collection. Blood was taken from the donors’ arms and the blood stem cells were mechanically separated. The blood itself is then returned to the other arm of the donor.

Without Mr Arora’s contribution, Vansh may not have found a legible donor, as only one in three people with blood cancer will find a matching stem cell donor within their own family.

Mr Adhalkha said: “Since receiving my transplant, I can do all the things that my friends can do, all the things that a normal child can do.

“I can go to school, I can play, I can do everything that I want and that is because my lifesaver, Harshil, has given me a new life.”

People from black, Asian or other minority backgrounds have a 20 per cent chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69 per cent for northern European backgrounds – so it’s essential to register more donors.

Mr Arora said: “I think the most powerful message to share is that you can make such a huge difference to someone else’s life without doing too much at all. It’s key to make more people aware and encourage others to become a lifesaver-in-waiting and I would urge others to take that first step.”

DKMS-BMST is a joint venture between BMST (Bangalore Medical Services Trust) and DKMS, one of the largest international blood stem cell donor centres in the world, which has operated in the UK since 2013.

Anyone aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health, can take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by requesting a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk.