“No words can really describe what receiving a call like that feels like.”

27 February 2018

A year after registering at a donor drive and a few weeks before her wedding day, Sonya received a call identifying her as a potential match for someone in need.

Shortly before her wedding day, Sonya was called to donate her blood stem cells to someone suffering from a blood cancer or blood disorder.
Shortly before her wedding day, Sonya was called to donate her blood stem cells to someone suffering from a blood cancer or blood disorder.

“We recently received the devastating news from close friends of ours that their gorgeous, vibrant little boy has been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition affecting his bone marrow production and they are now desperately searching for a match for him. When it hits so close to home it really makes you realise just how precious life is and how important it is to encourage as many people as possible to take a few minutes and join the registry.

It is your chance to save a life. Please spread the word. We never know what tomorrow brings.

I originally found out about blood stem cell donation through my sister. She had a customer whose little girl was sadly diagnosed with an extremely rare dual lineage leukemia. They started a campaign called “Team Margot” to raise awareness and encourage people to join the registry in the hope of finding a match for her and for so many other people out there that receive similar, devastating news.

My husband and I went along to one of the registration events where we had our swabs done. Sadly neither of us were a match for Margot, but we stayed on the registry in the hope of one day being able to potentially save someone’s life.

About a year later, a few weeks before my wedding, I received a call to say that I was a potential match for someone. No words can really describe what receiving a call like that feels like.

There I was, fortunate enough to be enjoying the sunshine in a beautiful destination, in good health and a few weeks away from marrying my best friend.

Knowing that someone else somewhere in the world had been told that finding a match is potentially their last hope puts everything in perspective so quickly.

I felt extremely lucky to have received that call and I knew immediately that I would 100% commit to seeing the process through.

Everyone at DKMS was so helpful and informative and helped put my mind at ease about the process almost immediately. I went for my full health check and once again all the doctors and nurses could not have made me feel any more comfortable.

There is also something quite reassuring about knowing that you are having a full health check done for your own peace of mind.

Once I had been cleared as fit and healthy to proceed with the donation, we started with the G-CSF injections stimulating the production of more stem cells. The nurses came to my house or work and worked around my schedule completely. I fortunately did not have any side effects with the injections.

On the day of the final injection my body felt a bit achy, a bit like having the flu but even thinking about what the person in need of my stem cells must have been feeling and going through made any aches and pains so irrelevant.

I felt incredible after my donation. To date, it was the best thing I have ever done and I would do it a million times over if I could.

Sonya’s blood before the blood stem cells are separated from it and the blood – returned to Sonya’s other arm.
Sonya’s blood before the blood stem cells are separated from it and the blood – returned to Sonya’s other arm.

To know that my stem cells have given someone somewhere in this world a chance to live is an indescribable feeling. I feel incredibly blessed to have been matched.

I received a letter after 6 months informing me that the person had responded well to my cells and was recovering well. I couldn't have wished for more.

Life is so precious. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of everyday life and this experience has reminded me of what really matters.

For anyone that has not joined the registry please take a few minutes to apply for your swab kit and join the stem cell registry. No one knows what the future holds and this could be the first step towards saving someone’s life.”

A huge thank you, Sonya, for donating blood stem cells and for writing this inspiring and encouraging story! Someone somewhere has had a second chance of life because you took the time to donate!

If this has inspired you and you would like to register then please check your eligibility and sign up as a potential blood stem cell donor today. Anyone between the ages of 17-55 and in good general health can go on standby to potentially save a life.

If you’re not eligible or you’re already registered, why not check out the other ways to get involved in the fight against blood cancer or help us cover donor registration costs here.