Bone marrow Daniel shares his blood stem cell donation journey

24 November 2017

Many registered blood stem cell donors never get matched to a patient or if they do, this happens months or years after they register. Unlike most potential donors, Danny Peacock was identified as a potential match for a blood cancer patient in need of a blood stem cell donation just a month after joining the stem cell registry.

He went through the Confirmatory Typing (CT) process, had a blood test, a further medical assessment and a consultation, which all confirmed his suitability as a bone marrow donor for the patient in need. However due to poor health of the patient, his donation was postponed three times. Eventually though, Danny donated and gave a teenager in the US a second chance of life.

Danny recalls:
"I first heard about DKMS and blood stem cell donation when a local police man with a blood cancer found a donor through DKMS and put a post on Facebook encouraging people to sign up.

After I learnt that 70% of blood cancer patients in need of a blood stem cell donation are not able to find a matching donor in their family, I decided registering myself was the right thing to do.

About a month after joining the UK stem cell registry, I received a phone call confirming that I had been found as a potential match for someone with a blood cancer. I felt nervous at first but then I felt very privileged to be given the chance to save someone’s life. The thought of what the patient was suffering made the decision to proceed very easy to make.

After being found as a potential match I had to go for some blood tests and then medical examinations to determine if I was a good enough match to proceed. I went for the blood tests and came back as a match suitable for a bone marrow donation! It was at that moment that I realised someone somewhere had just been told that a match had been found meaning that they could potentially cure themselves from this horrible disease.

The next step was for me to attend a medical assessment to make sure I was fit and healthy enough to undergo the surgery.

Three times over the space of a few months the operation was planned and had to be cancelled due to the health of the recipient and him not being well enough to risk going ahead.

I was given around one months’ notice each time by DKMS. DKMS arranged everything just as they had done for the medical including travel and accommodation for my wife to come down and support me.
There was no rush, the travel arrangements gave me plenty of time to relax and spend the whole day making my way to the hospital in London.

Even when I got checked into the hospital in the evening I was allowed back out to go for something to eat and spend some time in London. I just had to be back in the hospital for 11pm and fasting. I was told due to the logistics I would be first on the list in the morning and my operation would take priority so should be all over within time for a late breakfast.

They were right! I was collected at 7am and back awake in my room for 9.30am drinking coffee relatively pain free.
Danny having coffee after donating some of his bone marrow for someone in need
Danny having coffee after donating some of his bone marrow for someone in need

I was now under strict instructions just to relax and enjoy the hospitality that the hospital can provide and get myself ready for the journey home the next day.
Danny resting before setting off home after his donation
Danny resting before setting off home after his donation

I was informed by the doctors that the amount of bone marrow they would take out of my hip bone would depend on the recipient’s size. It would appear they were big and they took the full amount they could. With me being small a fairly high percentage of my bone marrow was taken which my body seemed to miss and I became very tired but it was all dealt with swiftly and gave me even more reason to relax and get ready for my train, flight and car journey home.

I feel very proud to have gone through with the procedure. It is still early days and I have moments every day where I cross my fingers and wonder how the recipient is doing.”

A big thank you to Danny for giving someone a second chance of life with some of his bone marrow and for raising awareness of blood stem cell donation with his fantastic LinkedIn blogs.

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to join the stem cell registry:

-Check your eligibility and register as a potential blood stem cell donor  today. Anyone aged between 17-55 and in general good health can go on standby to save a life.

- Swab the insides of your cheeks with the DIY swab kit that we will post to you and send your swabs back to us.

Your tissue type will then be analysed in our lab, using your swabs, and you will be listed as a potential donor on the UK stem cell registry.

If you are not eligible or have already registered, why not check the other ways to get involved in the fight against blood cancer or help us cover donor registration costs?