Monosomy 7 survivor Gaurav meets his bone marrow donor, Stefan, in Germany

5 January 2017

When he was just two years old Gaurav was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder, Monosomy 7. His parents were told that the best treatment would be for him to have a blood stem cell donation in order to stop leukaemia from developing. In the summer of 2013, the search to find Gaurav a matching blood stem cell donor began.

Thankfully, a few months later, a matching donor was found and a transplant date was set for mid-December 2013. Gaurav’s transplant was a success and he celebrated his third anniversary in 2016. It was on the weekend before this fantastic milestone that Gaurav and his lifesaving donor were able to meet for the first time. The man who donated to Gaurav three years ago was Stefan, from Bavaria in Germany. Gaurav and his family spent a wonderful winter weekend in Stefan’s hometown getting to know the man who saved Gaurav’s life.

Gaurav and family meet Gaurav's bone marrow donor, Stephan, and his family, three years after the lifesaving stem cell transplant
Gaurav and family meet Gaurav's bone marrow donor, Stephan, and his family, three years after the lifesaving stem cell transplant.

Reflecting on their weekend together, Stefan said: “I was able to spend the most beautiful weekend of the past few years and will cherish the memories and laughter for a long time. I had the pleasure of personally getting to know the recipient of my bone marrow donation and his wonderful family. It was absolutely fantastic to hold this boy in my arms. He came to Munich with his charming sister and his loving parents. Even with the first hug, I felt the infinite gratitude of Gaurav’s parents. We all enjoyed the weekend to the fullest. The bone marrow donation is one of the most beautiful stories in my life.

Stefan holding the boy he helped beat blood disorder Monosomy 7
Stefan holding the boy he helped beat blood disorder Monosomy 7.

“I recommend to everyone to be included on the donor register. Of course not everyone will be a donor, but by registering, you will give hope to the people who need help. The more people that are registered, the greater the hope, of course. I think this is the least we can do. Of course, with bone marrow donation, there is the small risk of complications, associated with the general anaesthetic, and a few days of light sore pain when sitting down and getting up, but what is it against the suffering that patients and their families had to experience? Nothing at all. To be a lifesaver is a perfect feeling and this I will have for the rest of my life. The Bains family are now a new part of my family and will always stay that way.

Gaurav's parents meet Stefan and his family
Gaurav's parents with Stefan and his family in Germany.

This amazing story is a testament to the difference a potential blood stem cell donor could make – not only for the recipient and their family, but also for the donor themselves.

Stefan and Gaurav in Germany after meeting each other for the first time.
Stefan and Gaurav in Germany after meeting each other for the first time.

Anyone in the UK aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health can register as a potential blood stem cell donor with DKMS. Around 90% of blood stem cell donations in the UK are collected via the blood stream. Around 10% of blood stem cell donations are made via a donation of bone marrow collected from the back of the pelvic bone. To find out more about the two processes please visit our registration page.