A few weeks ago, Jake donated his stem cells to give someone with blood cancer a second chance at life. He talks about his experience as a donor and how he hopes the transplant has enabled his recipient to enjoy the Christmas season.
I joined Anthony Nolan’s stem cell register about six or seven years ago. I didn’t know a great deal about it, but it seemed like a simple thing to do for a good cause.
Finding out I was a match
I was surprised when I found out I was a match for someone, but I had no doubts whatsoever about going through with the donation. A family friend received a stem cell transplant a few years ago and it gave her the opportunity to live life to the full – all thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
The big day…
I’m not a massive lover of needles but everyone involved, from the team at Anthony Nolan to the nurses in the hospital, were incredible. Nothing was too much of an issue for them. The donation itself was so simple. The hardest part was sitting still for a couple of hours! I took a tablet with me, watched Still Game and ate free biscuits!
After the donation, I went back to the hotel – which Anthony Nolan had paid for. I ate, had a nap and then waited for the hospital to call confirming if I was needed for a second day of donating – I wasn’t so I was free to head home!
Wishing my recipient a Merry Christmas
I’ve thought about the person my stem cells have gone to, both them and their family. Especially with the build up to Christmas – hopefully they will be well enough to celebrate it as a family. I’d like to make contact with them in future. It would be good to see how they are getting on.
To anyone thinking of signing up to the register – go for it. People were incredibly supportive throughout. I was a bit worried I might have struggled to get time off work, but my supervisors were great and supported me every step of the way!
I’m encouraging people at work – and people everywhere – to sign up to the stem cell register. It’s so simple and if you get called up as a match for someone, donating can quite literally save their life.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without our lifesaving donors – donors just like Jake. If you’re aged 16–30, you can donate your stem cells and give someone with blood cancer a second chance of life – visit anthonynolan.org/join to join our pioneering register.