‘Anthony Nolan came into school, around October 2012, and gave a presentation about how people need stem cell treatments. I was like ‘I’ll join when I’m 18, I’m not going to make any difference’. But then our family friend got leukaemia and it kind of hit home how serious it actually was, so I felt the need to join up.
‘He was about 18 and managed to get a transplant from Germany, and he’s alright now. I never actually spoke to him, I know his family generally. They all know that he’s the reason I signed up.
‘Before they came in I had the impression of, you know, ‘ooh, big needles, big operation’, but they obviously spoke about doing it with stem cells instead and it didn’t seem that difficult. I don’t understand why other people don’t sign up.
‘I signed up a few weeks later. After that I just stopped thinking about it. You know you’re on the register, but you don’t expect to get the phone call within six months of signing up. It just went to the back of my mind.
‘It was only a couple of weeks after I signed up that I told my mum. She was taken aback initially, but she thought it was a nice thing for me to do, especially after what had happened with our family friend. She also thought that it wouldn’t come up until some time in the future.
‘I got the call around the beginning of October – a text asking me to ring them. I was in a history class, so for the rest of it I was panicking because I had an idea what it was about.
‘The first person I called was my mum. Then I phoned Anthony Nolan, and the woman I spoke to said I might be a possible match and would I be willing to send a blood sample. I just said ‘yep, that’s fine’.
‘It was an immediate decision. I had the opportunity to save someone’s life, I didn’t have to think about it. I wasn’t expecting it, and I was a little scared but I was excited for what it meant.
‘I went down to London for a medical to make sure I was fit and healthy. I went on my own, which was my first time to London without other people. Me and my dad Tony got the tube map out and worked out exactly where I needed to go.
‘I was happy to go on my own – it gave me a little peace and quiet for the day. And I managed to go shopping! I think that surprised everyone more than the medical, that I was able to go shopping on my own. I loved it.
‘All I would say to other people is you should definitely sign up. Even if you get the call you can always back out, but it’s not as difficult as you expect it to be and not as bad as some people make out. So long as you don’t have a phobia of needles, you’ll be fine.’
‘I’d like to meet him or her one day. If they write a letter to me I’d be happy to write one back, but if they don’t that’s OK. I just hope they’re getting better, I just hope that I’ve helped – that’s the most important thing.’
Download our full 'State of the Registry' report to find out more about our donors and read more case studies.
Want to join our register of potential life-savers? If you're aged 16-30 and in good health, you can sign up online here.
If you know someone aged between 16 to 30 who wants to help to cure blood cancer, why not tell them about our register?
'I would 100% recommend it to other people. It’s comfortable, painless and so worthwhile.'