"I'm rowing the atlantic to save lives!"

Welcome to my DKMS registration page!

I’m Louise Brown; I’ve done some pretty exciting things in the past. I have sailed back and forth across the Atlantic, ridden an off-road motorbike across the Atlas mountains, bungee jumped in Whistler, wing walked on a bi-plane, to name a few - but this next challenge tops them all.

Having never rowed before (not even on a rowing machine), I was looking for a new challenge and I feel incredibly lucky to have been selected to join a team of 12 to row across the Atlantic.

In February 2021 I will fly to Tenerife with Rannoch Adventures to meet up with my fellow crew members and of course, our means of transport, “Roxy”. On February 21st the adventure begins; we will row 3,000 miles from Tenerife to Antigua. We will spend up to 40 days non stop rowing, working in a crew of 6, rowing 24 hours a day - 2 hours on the oars and 2 hours off, day and night. I’m literally counting the days down with anticipation and excitement.

I will be powered by freeze-dried meals, which are so good I could honestly eat them at home (if I were in a hurry)! They are made by ActivEat, a small UK company started by two women after they had rowed the Atlantic together!

I am limited to one 25 litre bag for my kit, which is not a lot! But I have the most amazing Ocean and Technical clothing from Zhik and Musto which packs down well. It’s going to be smelly – but at least we are in the middle of the ocean!

My training is going well, training twice a day. I am very fortunate to have Chris Jones, head coach at the Wellington Rowing Club, New Zealand, as my coach. Chris has given his time and expertise so generously; we have managed to work the time difference well, thanks to Zoom, which often means the crack of dawn his time.

Louise rowing
Louise and the team

I watched Team Margot row into English Harbour, Antigua, last year after their Atlantic crossing. They are my inspiration to raise awareness for the stem cell register and why DKMS is my chosen charity. I want to encourage as many of you as I possibly can, to join the register and help save lives. All it takes is a simple cheek swab and 2 minutes of your time.

I feel so honoured to have been given this opportunity, (probably my whackiest challenge yet) and it has given me such a great focus in what has otherwise been a truly bizarre year. I will be 55 when I start the row. My husband, three sons, three grandchildren and friends will be following the little boat shaped tracker as it slowly makes its way across the vast expanse between the Canaries and the Caribbean. I cannot wait to experience the welcome from friends and family into the harbour in Antigua and share the celebrations, after such a life changing experience.

As I do this, you too could do something life changing, potentially life saving please join the DKMS Stem Cell Register. Let’s make every oar stroke count and help us find a stem cell match for all those people that need one.

Thank you for your support!

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.