BINGO! A Virtual Celebration

Ben Couchman, age 8 is celebrating his 1st year stem cell transplant birthday. For him and his family this is a wonderful milestone in the year of ‘uncertainty’ that is 2020.

Ben’s story began back in June 2018 when he first became unwell which lead to a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia T- cell. He had intense chemotherapy for eight months, the side effects included mood swings, weight gain/loss, muscle wastage and vomiting. There were also over 20 admissions to hospital for temperature checks alone. Ben lost his hair twice, missed out on at lot of schooling, had mucositis and an allergic reaction to one drug in particular.

Finally, Ben entered maintenance chemotherapy.

This was until Ben relapsed in September 2019. At this stage his only hope of recovery was a bone marrow transplant. Luckily his little brother Elliot was able to be tested and confirmed as the perfect 10 out of 10 genetic match.

“We feel incredibly grateful to have reached a year and still have Ben. We hope to raise as much awareness of DKMS so we can help everyone who needs it find a match” says Mum Sam. December 13 is the exact date of Ben’s transplant, to mark this occasion The Couchmans and Friends are hosting a Virtual Bingo on December 11. The event, a first, will include live music from Brighton based pop-rock band Habit, who will be playing a collection of their very own Christmas songs. Of course, there are prizes to be won too!

All funds raised will go directly to DKMS, helping raising awareness further of the importance in registering and join others as a potential stem cell donors. Shockingly, each year 60% of patients need to look for donation from an unrelated donor, which is about 2,480 people in the UK.

Tim, Habit’s drummer and cousin of Ben says: “I can’t emphasise the importance of the work which DKMS does enough. They bring hope to families when they are most desperate. Ben is the most humbling and loving boy I know; he lifts any room he walks into. I am so proud of him and his family for making it to this terrific milestone. And I am so thankful for DKMS helping families stuck in the same horrible situation as mine was”

If you wish to register as a potential blood stem cell donor and join the 10 million strong DKMS donors worldwide that are #team10mil #lifesaversinwaiting please register below. Alternatively you can also to support DKMS by donating towards registration costs, click the contribute now button below.

Don’t forgot to shout BINGO!


Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.

Information about registration

Registering as a blood stem cell donor is easy, simply check your eligibility and request your home swab kit. Once you receive the kit, you will need to swab the inside of your cheek, following the instructions on the pack, before sending them back to us. Once we receive your swabs, they are processed in our lab to determine you tissue typing. Your typing is then stored, in an anonymised form, on the global database. This means you can be identified as a match for anyone in the world

A note about Coronavirus

We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.

If you're a match

If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.

Together we will beat blood cancer.

To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.

It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.

If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.