20-year-old Hayden gives someone a second chance of life

31 August 2017

Hayden was only 20 years old when he gave someone a second chance of life earlier this year! After being identified as a matching donor for someone in need, he donated some of his blood stem cells just a few weeks later. Read all about Hayden’s donation experience in his own words:

Hayden donating blood stem cells

I signed up for DKMS one day after seeing something on Facebook. I didn’t know too much about it and saw there was a low chance of getting the call, so thought it wouldn’t do any harm! I already give blood very regularly so it was just another way to help someone.

I was inspired to join the register after the passing of my Grandmother to lung cancer a few years back. Since then, having seen the extended time with her family she was given with her family from all the blood transfusions and other treatments she received, I have done what I can to help other people get the same extended time.

When I got the call to say I was a match for someone in need, my first reaction was one of surprise. In all honesty, I had forgotten I had even joined the register! However, I did some more reading into it and saw what a difference I was potentially able to make to give someone else another chance of life. Having done that, I leapt at the opportunity.

The main bulk of the donation is some G-CSF pre-injections for four days leading up to donation day, before a process called peripheral blood stem cell collection. For me, the only thing I found difficult was having to keep my left arm still for four hours! I was in hospital for the morning and some of the afternoon and was home in time for dinner! In all honesty, the injections beforehand aren’t too pleasant, they made me feel a bit flat for a few days, but in retrospect it was nothing compared to the person they were going to!

Hayden donating blood stem cells

I was a bit worried after hearing from people I know who said it was going to be really painful, it really isn’t and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. The day after donation, I took the day to work from home and was back in the office the following morning, with absolutely no after-effects!

Having completed my donation and now knowing a bit more about the patient I have helped, it has hit home how humbling it has been as an experience. Due to the way the stem cell matching works, it means that the patient will actually take on my immune and blood system, so will biologically share the same ancestors as me somewhere up the tree - I didn’t even know that I had ancestors in Italy! I hope the patient makes a full recovery and uses this as a second chance to enjoy the rest of their life.

A massive thanks to Hayden for donating and sharing his story! If you’ve been inspired, you can check your eligibility to become a potential blood stem cell donor and register to go on standby to save a life.

If you’re already registered or you are unable to, check out some of the other ways to get involved in the fight against blood cancer or help us cover donor registration costs.