A DONCASTER Olympic torchbearer has defended his decision to put his torch on eBay to raise funds to compete in the World Transplant Games.
Swimmer and water polo player Ben Pacey who had leukaemia and needed a bone marrow transplant several years ago is also hoping to generate funds for transplant charity, Anthony Nolan with the sale.
Ten per cent of Ben’s earnings will go to the charity that he credits with saving his life.
The 25-year-old gets no other funding to compete in the games that will take place in South Africa next year.
Ben, of Rydal Court, Balby, said: “I can never repay my debt to the Anthony Nolan charity without them I wouldn’t be here today, but I hope this will go some way to giving something back and also raise awareness and encourage people to get on the register.
“I absolutely love the Olympics, I think it is the best event in the world and I didn’t want to sell my torch. But where as some people are selling it purely for personal gain this money will help the charity, raise awareness and hopefully get me over to South Africa for the games next year.
“At first people were saying why are you selling it but when I explain the reasons people completely understand.
“One woman read about the sale on eBay and said she was going to sign up to be a donor after reading my story, so that’s at least one life potentially saved.”
The sale of the torch ends on Sunday but already the price has soared to £9,100.
Olympic torches have been selling for in excess of £150,000 on the auction site.
Ben has not yet received his torch, but will be carrying it on June 26, when the torch travels from Grimsby to Sheffield.
He said: “I’m so excited to be a part of history I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ben returned from the world transplant games in Australia with five gold medals, a silver and bronze and is hoping to replicate his success next year.
To support Ben visit http://www.justgiving.com/Ben-Pacey