Stem Cell Donation
VLUK Tutor, Liam Foster, has recently completed a stem cell donation in order to hopefully save someone's life. This is Liam's summary:
"I joined the DKMS Stem Cell register back in 2021 after seeing my friend complete a donation. They sent a swab kit to my house and all you have to do is swab your gums and send the kit back via the post. In January 2023 I was matched with someone dying with leukaemia. I felt a number of different emotions… upset because someone was dying, yet excitement because I had the opportunity to hopefully save their life."
I went for further tests (blood tests, ECG, health/physical screening) which confirmed me as an ideal match and a consultation which fully explained all the processes to me. I also found out my blood type which I didn’t know before. My donation date was confirmed for April 3rd so 3 months between match and donation. I was able to decide on the dates so choosing the Easter holidays helped with being off and recovering. For 4 days leading up to the donation day I had to take G-CSF injections that stimulated the stem cell growth in my bone marrow enabling my body to have high reserves of stem cells. On donation day I attended the haematology clinic in London and donated via the peripheral blood stem cell collection method. This involves a special intravenous line in each arm vein, much like giving blood; spending 4/5 hours in a hospital bed watching TV/Netflix. The goal was to collect 5million stem cells but in fact they actually collected 6.22million. Following the donation the sense of pride was fantastic. The only side effects I had was tiredness for a few days after".
"I have since been informed that my cells are being given to a man in Spain as you get matched by DNA so the person you donate to are actually long lost relatives! His family have already sent me confidential thankful messages and I'm allowed to send one anonymous email/letter to them. Fingers crossed it works!"
"Throughout the whole process I was provided clear and helpful support by the DKMS and the nurses at the hospital were all great. Travel, accommodation and food expenses were all covered by the charity throughout which really helped. I urge anyone over the age of 18 to just sign up to the register. It’s completely free and there is no obligation to complete a donation if you match with someone. I was given the option to withdraw at any time. To give someone a second chance at living will always fill me with pride. A good deed for humanity will always go a long way."
DKMS are looking for healthy athletic people who are willing to give the gift of life to others who are in desperate need. To find out more information visit https://www.dkms.org.uk/donation-explained or if you'd like to find out more about Liam's story email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team at VLUK couldn't be more proud of Liam's selfless actions - well done Liam.