When I wrote my post about registering to give blood, it instantly went out on Twitter. A fellow tweeter, @Curlyman66, contacted me to let me know that I could also register to become a Stem Cell donor. He directed me to a website, Delete Blood Cancer UK, whose key mission is to provide a suitable donor for every person in need of a blood stem cell donation. Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Blood stem cells from a matching donor could cure them and save their lives. The charity work towards achieving their mission by raising awareness and empowering people to register as potential blood stem cell donors, and to join the campaign by taking action in their communities, schools, and companies; working with volunteers and organisations throughout the UK to inspire and register more people.
They are part of DKMS (The Foundation for Donating Life), a global family of organizations that started in Germany in 1991 around one family’s search for a donor. Dr. Peter Harf and Prof. Gerhard Ehninger founded DKMS in honour of Harf’s wife Mechtild, who had sadly lost her battle with blood cancer. The worldwide search for donors still goes on today for every single person in need of a lifesaving blood stem cell donation. DKMS has grown to become the world’s largest stem cell donor centre. An impressive 40,000 people have made a blood stem cell donation since 1991. Today over 4 million potential donors have registered and over 40,000 stem cell donations have taken place, to give all these people a second chance of life.
When I went into the website the registration process took just minutes. A donor ‘DIY Swab Kit’ is winging its way towards me, requiring me to simply swab my mouth and return the sample to their centre. Once they have my sample they have the opportunity to match me with any person who requires a stem cell donor – now, or in the future. Curlyman’s son has recently had a stem cell transplant and is making good progress – I’m so glad he contacted me to let me know that I can help…that all of us can help. My next plan is to contact the Anthony Nolan Trust and ask them to come and talk to my students at the UTC. There are so many of us who could potentially help to save the lives of others. Life is too precious to let opportunities to help others pass by. Curlyman, I hope your son continues to make great progress and returns to full health. Fingers and toes crossed. I’ll keep spreading thee word.