In 2016, a family friend needed a stem cell transplant, which made me aware of Anthony Nolan for the first time and subsequently inspired me to join the Anthony Nolan register. For me, it was my small way of providing a little bit of support to those in need. So, through the door my spit kit came, closely followed by my registered donor card.
There aren’t words to describe the rollercoaster of emotions I went through when, five months after sending off my spit kit, I got the email saying I may be a potential match. It was such a routine thing for me to do, but one that could have a life-changing impact on someone else. It’s something I still can’t really explain or comprehend, however much I’ve tried.
Here I am three months later, two sets of blood tests, an ECG, a chest X-ray down and a full medical completed. Four days of G-CSF (Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor) injections and two days of collection are complete. Collection often takes a single day. In some cases, one day isn’t quite enough to collect the four million stem cells needed, so it was two days on the machine for me. However, those two days meant that I ended up collecting over 5 million stem cells, which are currently on their way to a stranger somewhere in the world.
During my medical, the nurse asked me to sign a piece a paper to acknowledge the risks of being a donor and to confirm that the donor receives no benefits… She couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, I’m not being paid and yes, I don’t get some kind of superhero power from the experience, but I do have a feeling that I can’t describe which is quite overwhelming. In fact, writing down my emotions on this page doesn’t do them any kind of justice. So I’ll just let you sit back and imagine how potentially saving someone’s life might feel.
For me, it’s all about giving someone that bit of hope. And for every person who decides to join the register, that’s one extra person who may have that little bit of hope they are so desperate for.
So here’s what to do… Give a spit! It’s so easy. If giving a spit isn’t for you (I understand it’s not for everyone!) then please share my story, tell someone else; it could be for them! At the end of the day, we all have to be there to help each other out, and this is just one way to do your bit.
For more information on exactly what I’ve done, see this link: https://www.anthonynolan.org/…/you%E2%80%99re-match-what-ha…
To find out more about (and put your name down on) the donor register, here’s where to go: https://www.anthonynolan.org/ (P.S. You’re a star, thank you!)