24 May 2018
Newlywed Gareth sacrificed his honeymoon to save the life of a complete stranger.
The Scotsman, who works for Interflex Group, registered as a potential blood stem cell donor with us in May 2016. Earlier this year he helped to give that person a second chance at life.
Ahead of DKMS World Blood Cancer Day (28 May) Gareth wants to share his story to encourage others to take the first steps in becoming a potential lifesaver.
“My main inspiration for joining the registry was following my father's diagnosis with liver cancer. I went on a mission to do anything I could to help him and others in need and came across the DKMS website.
I registered online for my home swab kit and sent my cheek swabs back in the post in order for my details to be added to the registry and then literally went on standby as a potential lifesaver.
Gareth with his father Scott
Receiving that important call
Less than two years later, I received an important call saying I was a match for someone in need of a transplant. To get that call that's when the superhero feeling kicked in. It's a strange feeling knowing that you could potentially save someone's life but it was such a proud moment.
I have been with my partner Heather for six years and we were busy planning our wedding, which took place in March 2018. It was a hectic time for us but I was determined not to let this person down – the wedding went ahead and it was a fantastic day.
Following the wedding we had planned to go around the coast of Scotland but as this person really needed my help, we of course decided to postpone our honeymoon – the coast of Scotland isn’t going anywhere!
Due to the slight delay we decided to get a new dog and called it Honey short for honeymoon instead.
Gareth and his wife on their wedding day
The big day had arrived and I donated my blood stem cells through the peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC).
I was amazed to know that 70% of all donations are made by men and I was proud to be one of them and would urge everyone - male and female - to register.
It’s a simple process to register online for your home swab kit, swab your cheeks and then return the kit. To know that you could potentially help save someone's life, you can't ask for much more than that.
My nickname is Junior as I'm the spitting image of my dad and now, following the donation, I get called Super Junior.
If I had to summarise my donation experience I would say it's been rewarding, heart warming and an extremely proud moment that I will never forget."
How you can help
If you’d like to register as a potential blood stem cell donor you can check your eligibility and sign up today. Anyone aged between 17-55 and in general good health can go on standby as a potential lifesaver.
If you’re not eligible or you’re already registered, why not check the other ways to get involved in the fight against blood cancer or help us cover donor registration costs?