A Capital team member has recently donated their blood stem cells, after learning they were a rare 100% stem cell donor match for a person they had never met.
To put the rarity of this 100% match occurrence into perspective, consider that even amongst an individual’s relatives, there is only a 25% chance of finding a suitable stem cell donor.
In this extraordinary circumstance, the donor would like to share their honest experience of the process to encourage others to sign up as a stem cell donor:
“I registered with the charity DKMS after losing family and friends to a type of blood cancer and, if I’m 100% honest, I felt like I’d already done my bit just by signing up, never thinking that I’d ever have to do anything more. I’ve been doing the National Lottery for 20 years, never winning more than a tenner, so typically, I was always going to win this lottery!
DKMS is an international charity dedicated to the fight against blood cancers and blood disorders. They are an amazing charity who recruit blood stem cell donors, provide second chances at life for those in need of a transplant along with raising the funds to cover donor registration costs and travel expenses.
After registering with the charity, they will send you a swab kit. Once you’ve returned your swab to the charity, they will contact you if they find a match.
If you are a potential match, you will be booked into Nobles Hospital for a blood test. The samples are then sent off to the patient’s medical team. If the match is confirmed further, you are flown to the London Blood Clinic (based on non-other than Harley Street), which is a private clinic used by the charity. There, other tests are undertaken including an ECG, blood pressure, cholesterol, which will then fully determine if you are a suitable donor.
You are then provided with self-administering injections that you need to take 4 days prior to the donation. These injections increase your stem cell production and flush them into the bloodstream. Please don’t be put off by this; while a bit uncomfortable, the injections are not painful but do have the slight side effect of flu-like aching, which disappears as soon as the donation has been made.
You are then flown back to the clinic for the donation. This donation, in a nutshell, is 5 hours of blood dialysis, where blood is taken from one arm, filtered around the stem cell machine, collecting what is needed, and then put back into your other arm. Again, please don’t be put off by this, whilst it is uncomfortable, it’s relatively painless. It’s more than worth the slight discomfort to potentially give someone a second chance.
The Charity are always on hand to answer any questions or provide information. They arrange and cover all travel and accommodation, including bringing your partner. Even the tube and train tickets are there waiting for you. The Staff at the clinic are also so friendly and supportive; it is all so well organised.
I don’t want to lie and say it’s an easy process; there are ups and downs. I know the thought of going through this process might put people off registering, please don’t let it! I am scared of hospitals (I don’t even like to visit), I’m scared of blood and scared of doctors, so if I can do it, anybody can!
The biggest challenge was emotionally, having this responsibility playing on your mind. Being told that you just may be able to give someone a second chance really hits you hard. However, the feeling of knowing what you could do to help someone, and the feeling of wellbeing after it all really can’t be explained, so please register.”
You could be a suitable stem cell donor too, but you will never know without registering.
Registering is simple. Visit the DKMS website and register yourself as a potential donor, then request a Swab kit.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed within this article are those of the authors and not those of any company within the Capital International (CIG) and as such are neither given nor endorsed by CIG. Information in this article does not constitute investment advice or an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of any company within the Capital International Group of companies to buy or sell any product or security or to make a bank deposit.