Blood Cancer Awareness Month

#LifesaversinLockdown

September marks Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, more than 2,000 people in the UK with a blood cancer or blood disorder are in need of a potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donation from an unrelated person. Four out of ten of those people won’t find a match and this year, Covid-19 has resulted in less and less people joining the blood stem cell register. The pandemic has also meant delays in both diagnoses and treatments, the impacts of which will be felt for a long time to come.

Join us in helping to raise awareness of blood cancer and disorders simply by talking with friends and family, sharing our social media posts or sending links to our website. Join us too in thanking and celebrating our lifesavers in lockdown who did so much to help, despite the adversity faced.

Check your eligibility

Your age, location and current health status are important. Check to see if you can become a blood stem cell donor. If you have already registered with us and would like to update your details, you can do so here. Please do not re-register.

Your age, location and health are important

See if you are eligible

As a registered donor, you will be on standby to save life.

Do you live in the UK or British Islands?

United Kingdom

DKMS in the UK accepts registrations from the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Is this your first registration with a stem cell donor registry?

If you are already listed with the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (WBMDR), or with Anthony Nolan, you should not re-register. We and each of these organisations register donors to one single UK registry.

Please enter your date of birth.

Does your health allow you to register as a donor?

If you have or have had in the past, a chronic or serious condition, or take any medication regularly, please review the list of conditions below, or, for more in-depth information, visit our FAQ's.

If you would prefer to contact us for guidance, please call us on 020 8747 5685 or send an email to donor@dkms.org.uk.

List of conditions

Please select measurement unit and enter your details

You are an eligible donor!

Thank you for checking your eligibility with us.

Please wait while you are transferred to the registration form to request your swab kit.

Thank you for your support.

We can only register people who live in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

 

You might be able to register with one of our sister organisations below:

or

or you can...

Help us raise funds

Thank you for your support.

If you’ve registered with another organisation, there's no need to register with us too. You're already a lifesaver-in-waiting!

 

There are other ways to help.

Help us raise funds

Thank you for your support.

To register as a potential blood stem cell donor, you must be between the ages of 17-55.

 

You can still help in other ways!

Help us raise funds

or

Thank you for your support.

Unfortunately your health prevents you from becoming a donor at this point in time.

 

You can still help in other ways!

Help us raise funds

or

Thank you for your support.

To register you must have a BMI below 40.

 

But there are still many other ways to help!

Help us raise funds

or

 

Does your health allow you to register as a donor?

Before you register, please check that you are able to donate by looking at the list below. Type the name of your condition into the search box and scroll down to see the corresponding results.

  • Addiction (Alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs) The occasional consumption of cannabis does not affect your eligibility to register as a blood stem cell donor.
  • Allergies - Yes, it is possible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor when suffering from an allergy (including food allergies, hay fever or drug allergies), with the exception of severe allergic reactions (e.g. allergic shocks or Quincke's Oedema) in the past. If you have suffered from severe allergic reactions in the past, please contact us via email: donor@dkms.org.uk, or tel: 020 8747 5620, because it may affect your eligibility as a donor.
  • Asthma If you have mild asthma and it is well controlled with any combination of inhalers alone you are eligible to register.  You are not eligible if you were admitted to hospital regularly in the past 2 years due to asthma attacks or require oral cortisone tablets, Montelukast or Theophylline.​
  • Autoimmune diseases, general e.g. psoriasis – yes, it is possible to register as a blood stem cell donor. 
  • Autoimmune diseases affecting a particular organ, e.g. Hashimoto's encephalopathy - No, it is not possible for someone to register as a blood stem cell donor if they suffer from this particular type of autoimmune disease because there is a risk of transmitting the condition onto the recipient.
  • Basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ - Yes, you are able to register if the basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ have been removed completely and the control check-ups since have been without pathological findings.
  • Bipolar/manic affective illnesses – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Blood transfusion - Receiving a blood transfusion may not stop you from registering as a potential blood stem cell donor. If you received a transfusion following a one-off loss of blood during pregnancy/childbirth or after the trauma you are fine to register. If you received a transfusion because of a different medical condition, please email us with details about the condition. Regardless of the reason for the transfusion, if it took place outside of Europe, Australia or North America, just let us know by emailing: donor@dkms.org.uk.
  • Borderline Syndrome – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Cancer – No, it is not possible for someone who has suffered from a malignant disease in the past to register as a blood stem cell donor.
  • Colitis - No, people with ulcerative colitis cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Crohns - No, people with Crohns disease cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diabetes Type 1 – No, it is not possible to register donors with diabetes mellitus type 1. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diabetes Type 2 - To be able to register, the condition has to be controlled by diet and there should be no other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes Insipidus - No, it is not possible to register donors with diabetes insipidus. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diseases of the haematopoeitic system (blood disorders) - No, people with diseases of the blood and the immune system cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor, because the blood stem cells of the haematopoietic system and the immune system are transmitted through the stem cell transplantation.
  • Dyspnoea – No, those suffering from frequent or consistent dyspnoea are not eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.
  • Epilepsy - It is possible to register as long as you have been seizure-free for the past 12 months without needing medication. However, if you are currently requiring medication or have recently had a seizure, then you are unable to register. You are also not able to register if seizures are related to a problem with, or injury to, the brain.​
  • Fibromyalgia - No, people with fibromyalgia cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – Yes, it is possible to register as a donor if suffering from mild anxiety, if the prospective donor is receiving treatment for a limited amount of time, and feeling well enough to manage everyday life.
  • Grave’s disease or a thyroid carcinoma - No, people with Grave’s disease or a thyroid carcinoma cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Hashimoto's Encephalopathy - No, it is not possible to register as a blood stem cell donor if suffering from Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. 
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - Yes, it is possible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor if suffering from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis if your condition is stable and you are symptom-free. 
  • High Blood Pressure - Yes, you are able to register with high blood pressure because it does not generally affect blood stem cell donation so long as the condition is well-regulated with drugs or through an adapted diet and hasn’t caused any damage to the eyes, heart or vessels.
  • High blood pressure – Yes, you can register with well-regulated high blood pressure, as long as there are no health problems stemming from the condition.
  • Infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, Syphilis - No, people with severe and life-threatening infectious diseases like HIV would not be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor. This is to protect the recipient, especially in cases where complete healing from the disease is not verifiable (e.g. Hepatitis C).
  • Iron deficiency anaemia - For iron-deficiency anaemia, the determining factor is the haemoglobin level. If the level is frequently below 11.5 mg/dl for women and 13.5 mg/dl for men, registration is not permitted. However, if the iron supplement is well-tolerated and the iron levels, as well as the haemoglobin level, are in a normal range, you would still be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.
  • Major Depression – No, it is not possible to register if the potential donor is limited due to their illness. The donation process can be an additional mental burden that has to be managed on top of everything else. It is not only a question of whether the donor will be able to reliably come to the donation appointment, but also how they can handle the situation after the donation.
  • Minor Depression – Yes, it is possible to register as a donor if suffering from mild depression, if the prospective donor is receiving treatment for a limited amount of time, and feeling well enough to manage everyday life. This applies to blood stem cell donors whose medication contains less problematic substances, such as Citalopram, Venlafaxine or Fluoxetine.
  • Mitral valve prolapse - Yes, people suffering from a mitral valve prolapse can register as a potential blood stem cell donor, as long as there are no health problems stemming from the condition.
  • Pernicious Anaemia - No, it is not possible to register as a blood stem cell donor if suffering from pernicious anaemia. 
  • Psoriasis – Yes, if it is mild/moderate (the classic 'cigarette paper-like' eczema) and is being treated with topical therapy (tar, creams, etc.) or a single course of UV therapy, you are eligible.
  • Psychosis – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Rheumatism – No, it is not possible for someone to register as a blood stem cell donor if they are suffering from a rheumatic disease, even if they are not currently experiencing any symptoms.
  • Schizo-effective disorders – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Severe heart diseases - No, heart diseases that require treatment or monitoring would not be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor, because they greatly increase the risk of complications during the donation. Those conditions include cardiac dysrhythmia, damage to the vascular walls, arteriosclerosis (especially if medication with anticoagulant drugs is necessary), heart attack, strokes, or structural defects of the heart such as valvar defects.
  • Severe kidney diseases - No, people with chronic kidney diseases, including diseases in the early stages cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. There is a risk of further damage to their kidneys during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe lung diseases - No, someone with a chronic lung disease, including diseases in the early stages cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. There is a risk of further damage to their lungs during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe metabolic diseases - No, those with severe metabolic diseases, including diseases in the early stages, cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor because they might see their condition worsen or lapse during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe tropical infectious diseases - No, people with a pre-existing infectious disease cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor because the disease can be transmitted to the recipient during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Thyroid (enlarged or underactive) - Yes, people with hypothyroidism or hashimoto’s thyroiditis are able to register as a potential blood stem cell donor if they are stable and symptom free, including when taking thyroid hormones or iodine.

How to become a blood stem cell donor

How to become a blood stem cell donor with DKMS
How to become a blood stem cell donor with DKMS

Watch this short video to see what it means to be a potential blood stem cell donor. A five-minute cheek swab will put you on standby to save a life.

Piechart showing that only 2% of the UK population are registered as blood stem cell donors
Every 27 seconds, someone somewhere in the world is diagnosed with blood cancer.
Every year, more than 2,000 people in the UK are in need of a blood stem cell donation from an unrelated person

Meet some of our #LifesaversinLockdown

Gary

Image of blood stem cell donor, Gary, with an Isle of Man flag

Blood stem cell donor

Former firefighter Gary had been used to saving people from burning buildings, but receiving an important phone call during the COVID-19 pandemic meant he could be a lifesaver in another way. Living on the Isle of Man, Gary had to be granted special permission to travel to London to undergo his blood stem cell donation and give someone a second chance at life.

Sally

Sally at a DKMS event

Lifestyle and Interiors blogger

Sally, whose husband was diagnosed with an incurable form of Lymphoma 10 years ago, has been working hard to raise awareness of blood stem cell donation and the work of DKMS since early 2018. During lockdown, Sally helped us to register an incredible 881 potential donors through her Instagram account @gettingstuffdoneinheels

Steve

Image of some post wih a note saying "Just want to say you're awesome for supporting DKMS. Thanks, Steve"

Postman

Come rain, shine or global pandemic, Steve is out delivering post - and that includes swab kits from DKMS. Every time he drops off a kit, he makes sure the recipient knows they’re doing a great thing in becoming a potential lifesaver by adding a handwritten note to his delivery.

Ginny

Ginny

Fundraiser

Ginny’s son Ben received a blood stem cell transplant to help him beat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2018, but sadly he died ten months later. Ever since, Ginny has been working hard to raise awareness in his memory. During lockdown, Ginny ran an incredible 120 miles at home to raise money for DKMS, and she’s already moved on to her next fundraising challenge.

Raising funds and raising awareness

20 for 20 Challenge

20 for 20

We've joined forces with 20 other cancer charities to create a unique and exciting 20-day challenge, 20 for 20. Complete a 20-challenges-a-day calendar any time from September 20th - November 20th, raise vital funds and help us to find more potentially lifesaving matches.

It’s been amazing to see people getting creative with fundraising during lockdown, from sponsored runs around the garden, to horror movie marathons, or growing and shaving a beard. But we still need your help. Have a look at our ideas for fundraising from home and remember, for every that sponsors you, that’s one more person to spread the word – which might just save a life.

 

It costs us £40 to register every new potential lifesaver. Every contribution makes a difference.