A Franciscan friar put his life’s mission firmly into practice when he gave a bone marrow to a person he didn’t know saving that person’s life. Father Mario Sant is no stranger to illnesses. On a daily basis he comes across Maltese patients who are waiting for treatment in the UK, which is where he works. Speaking to Brandon Pisani in Sutton, Sant talked about his life’s work and mission among people who need his support and what led him to become a donor.
Father Mario Sant has spent the last four and a half years carrying out pastoral work among Maltese patients receiving care in the UK. During this time Fr Mario gave comfort and support to patients facing difficulties and challenges that are part and parcel of illnesses. This helped him find the courage to go one step further – to practice what he preaches by giving his bone marrow and saving the life of a person.
Father Sant: “a year after registering, I was called to give my bone marrow. They had found a patient who needed my bone marrow. After the tests were conducted, within a day, I gave up this organ”
We caught up with Father Mario, 37, a couple of days ago in Sutton. He talked about the satisfaction he felt – in that small gesture he had saved a person’s life. “Enormous satisfaction, but as I’ve said before, it did not require a huge sacrifice. But you feel so much joy …. It is a simple process whereby you are saving someone’s life.”
His desire now is to meet the person whose life he saved. The only information he has is that she is female.
Father Sant: “here are obviously laws to protect both the patient and the donor so one can’t find out the identity of the donor. After two years, if the patient wishes to know who the donor is, he can. ”
We assked Fr. Mario what prompted him to decide to give his bone marrow.
“There was a case of a five year old child who needed a bone marrow transplant. And a donor could not be found. We continued looking and eventually found a donor but the match was not one hundred percent perfect and the story didn’t end well. This boy’s story promoted me to register as a donor. ”
Finally Fr Mario appealed to the Maltese to enroll in the registry of organ donors as he said one does not realise the sacrifices made by people who are waiting for a transplant and to them it is a case of life or death.