This book was originally destined for family and close friends, but the reaction has been such that it might find a wider readership.

To this end, together with my wife Lin, I decided to print a further number of copies to be sold as a donation to the MDS UK Patient Support Group as my small contribution towards their fundraising.

I am not an author and I have never had any help or guidance in writing this work, so it may seem very unpolished to some.

Stay with it. Enjoy the journey.

Ron Holder, 11th January 2020

Twice A Refugee book cover

“Twice A Refugee” - an extraordinary book by Ron Holder, tells his gripping, factual account of being a refugee twice in his life. The incredible, poignant social history is testament to Ron's strong character and self-belief.

Ron was born to devout Christian missionary parents in China during WWII. The family fled the advancing Japanese army by flying over the Himalayas in an unpressurised cargo plane by the US Airforce, arriving in India as refugees. Placed in a boarding school at age just 4 1/2 so his parents could continue their missionary work in China, his childhood became one of bitterness and resentment.

At just 15, Ron was taken to The Belgian Congo to learn about his parents' religious devotion and commitment. 4 years of adventure, which culminated in The Congo's Independence and its descent into civil war, resulted in Ron becoming a refugee again. These years of self-reliance equipped Ron better than any academic qualification could have.

Ron, who was dyslexic, set about writing up this unusual story of his formative years for his family and close friends only.

In May 2018 he was diagnosed with the rare blood cancer ‘Myelodysplastic Syndromes’ (MDS). Both Ron and his wife Lin became regular members and supporters of the Kent MDS Support Unit. He wished to see the book in print, with all proceeds benefiting the charity and patient support group MDS UK.

Sadly, Ron's condition deteriorated and transformed to Aplastic Anaemia. Both these conditions are bone marrow failure diseases and can overlap.

Ron lost his battle with Aplastic Anaemia in January 2020. His beloved wife, Lin Holder said: “The focus since his diagnosis in May 2018 was to finish this book and to see it in print. He achieved this in August 2019 and was delighted with the feedback he received from those who had read it so far. Hope you enjoy it too.”

Listen to these two excerpts of Ron Holder's "Twice a Refugee"

This 1st reading from Ron’s book describes his elation on the last day of his school life, after being in a boarding school since the age of 4 ½ years of age.

This 2nd reading is a very powerful account of just one of the atrocities that Ron witnessed during his escape from the Belgium Congo on his Lambretta. It also details that he could not save others, and was fearful for his own life. It was down to his prowess in Swahili and the local dialect of Kebembi which no doubt saved his life.

Both Ron's loving wife Lin and MDS UK hope you enjoy this remarkable story as much as Ron enjoyed writing it. It really is a wonderful read, and a bargain at £12.00 plus P+P!

To order your copy:

  • Please email Andy Veitch (MDS UK's Kent Local Group Coordinator) on
  • Please include your postal address.
  • The P+P costs for UK addresses is £1.99 per copy, but for other countries it will be higher. When you email Andy to request your copy he will confirm the exact cost of P+P based on your location.
  • After having emailed Andy as above, and received his reply, it is then simply a matter of donating the suggested sum on the book’s JustGiving page and he will mail you the book.

You can of course also donate without purchasing the book if you wish! Many thanks if you choose to do so

MDS UK is the only charity solely dedicated to helping those with Myelodysplastic Syndromes and their loved ones through pioneering research, a helpline, specialist speakers and more. We are a small charity that needs your support!

MDS is a blood cancer and bone marrow failure disease. Approx 2500 patients are diagnosed every year with MDS in the UK. The causes are mostly unknown and the average age at diagnosis is around 74 years old. Aplastic Anaemia shares features of this disease, but can affect patients at much younger ages too. Symptoms of severe unusual fatigue or repeated odd blood counts results are some of the signs to watch out for, and require further investigation by haematologists. Please always consult your GP in good time.
More information on MDS and ways to contribute:

MDS UK would like to thank Ron Holder, who was determined to raise vital funds for us despite his illness. You’re an inspiration and are sorely missed! We would also like to thank Lin for helping to publish the book and for remaining a vital part of our fundraising community.

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