“I ran 8km two days after my blood stem cell donation”

8 September 2017

Nicholas registered as a potential blood stem cell donor during a DKMS registration event at his company in 2015. Two years after his registration and a few weeks before moving house, Nicholas was identified as a potential match for someone diagnosed with blood cancer.

"I first heard about DKMS and blood stem cell donation when DKMS came into my work reception and asked if I was interested in signing up as a potential blood stem cell donor. I wanted see if I could help someone out."

This was the start of his donor journey which he has kindly shared with us:

"I'd always wanted to donate blood but never got round to it, because of the length of time you can't exercise after. Blood stem cell donation seemed a pretty seamless transition from donation to normal routine, so it really suited my lifestyle.

To be honest I completely forgot I signed up, so when I was told I was a match it was a bit of a shock. After being told you're a match, you go for a blood test at a local hospital. Once you've been confirmed as a match, they then send you for a medical at the hospital. 

After the medical, if you're deemed healthy, a date will be set for the donation and four days prior a nurse will come to your home/work to administer the first of four G-CSF injections. The injection side effects are the worst bit, they give some aches in your hips and lower back. However it's nothing worth complaining about, it's not like you have cancer.

Finally after the four days of injections, you arrive at the hospital and they set you up to a machine (very similar to a dialysis unit).

Nicholas donating some of his blood stem cells via peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection

Blood comes out of one arm into the machine and then enters through the other after they've removed the blood stem cells. It's painless and takes around 4 - 5 hours. After that, no more aches in my hips or lower back and you feel a little tired.

I was a little tired the next day, however I got over this pretty quickly. In fact, I ran 8km two days after; granted I was slower than usual, but nothing too bad.

Now I've had time to digest what I've done, it feels quite good to have helped someone. People kept telling me what an amazing thing it was I was doing, but I just waved it off as nothing because all I did was sit in a bed for a few hours.

However when I found out some details about the patient, it became a lot more real.

If I have the chance to meet the recepient of my blood stem cells in two years' time I would ask them: "Nice stem cells, where did you get them from?""

A big thank you to Nicholas for giving a second chance of life to someone with a blood cancer and fitting the donation in his busy schedule! He’s got a new home now, while the recipient of his donation could get a new life!

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to register, check your eligibility and sign up 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.

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