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Marrow donor 1 in 20 million
Special gift: Stefano Marchioro. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Stefano Marchioro is entitled to feel special - he is literally one in 20 million.

The 26-year-old from Nollamara is the only person found in a worldwide search to have the right tissue type to save the life of a European child who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.

Of more than 20 million potential bone marrow donors screened, Mr Marchioro is the only suitable match.

Ironically, the car technician and motorcycle enthusiast migrated from Europe less than two years ago, moving from his home near Venice to enjoy a healthier lifestyle in Australia.

Mr Marchioro decided to become an Australian Red Cross blood donor and join an international bone marrow registry to mark the start of his new life in Perth.

In Australia, only one in 1500 people registered is asked to donate stemcells in any year - usually to treat people with life-threatening blood diseases such as leukaemia - and most are never called on to donate.

But within months of signing up, Mr Marchioro was stunned to learn he was a rare match.

Next month, he will have a series of injections over four days to boost his blood's stemcell count, before going into Royal Perth Hospital's haematology unit for half a day, where his blood will pass through a machine to extract the life-saving stemcells.

From there, the precious cargo will be rushed overseas, ready to be transplanted into the child.

Because of strict rules surrounding the identity of recipients, the registry will not reveal more details about the child, but Mr Marchioro says he is happy just to know that a life might be saved.

"When I migrated to Australia, I felt a bit like a number and not very special, and I was worried about my future," he said.

"Finding out I'm the only match has made me feel special and it's made me feel very positive about the year ahead. I believe everything happens for a reason and I think that's why I am a match."

Mr Marchioro shrugs off the possible downside of donating stemcells, such as feeling tired or sore, but says he is grateful his employer, Grand Toyota in Wangara, is supporting him and giving him the time off he needs.

He says part of his decision to sign up to the registry was because he was treated so well as a blood donor and wanted to give more.

"When they contacted me and said I was a one in 20 million match I was a bit shocked but I said 'no problem' because they have looked after me so well," he said.

And while he loves the adrenalin rush from riding his motorbikes - a vintage 1988 Yamaha and a Harley- Davidson - Mr Marchioro says he is following advice to keep himself safe and well over the new few weeks.

He knows a young life on the other side of the world depends on it.

You can join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry if aged between 18 and 45 and in good health. Details are at abmdr.org.au or contact the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95.