Tammy and David, wife and husband, registered as potential blood stem cell donors after Tammy had seen a patient appeal on Facebook for a child in need of a match. When David was told he was a potential match for someone, at first he was concerned about the needles involved in the process. However, he overcame his fear of needles and ended up giving a second chance of life to someone in need just a few days after his wife had given birth to their new baby.
“My wife Tammy first heard about DKMS through Facebook, a friend of hers shared a link for a mother looking for a match for their child and so Tammy filled in the short questionnaire and soon after that our swab kits arrived.
So there I was, sat at my computer when my wife walked in and said "Open your mouth". I thought “Oh great, she's giving me some grapes” but no, next thing I know is I have a swab in the side of my cheek. Tammy then goes on to explain about DKMS and although it's highly unlikely we'll get called upon within 10 years or ever, it's still a possibility.
Tammy felt if one of us now or in the future came up as a potential match to save someone's life then we've done a good thing.
Cancer can affect anyone, at any age, at anytime in his or her life. If someone we loved had cancer and we had the chance to save their life we wouldn't hesitate.
When the call came from Leo at DKMS to advise I was a potential match, my wife was excited for me, I on the other hand was thinking "Ohhh no, needles!" However I knew regardless of my fear with needles, the reasons to do the donation, outweighed them.
The donation for the steam cell treatment was pretty straightforward and DKMS gave all the information one needed for the process. I was advised there might be a reaction to the injections I would need to boost my stem cells over 4 days prior to the donation.
I had some rather painful aches in my joints and flu like symptoms. Although I had a reaction to the injections (I understand not everyone does), I reminded myself that it would be worth it for the person who was in need of my healthy cells.
It turned out that my body produced so many stem cells that it was nearly 4x times more that was needed, which is great for the patient and made sense why my body ached so much, ha!
After the donation I needed a few days rest to recover, but mentally I felt a great pride and achievement that l was able to take part in such a great cause, which meant a lot to me, my wife and our friends and family who have since sent off their DKMS swab samples in hope that they too might potentially be a match for someone.
Now that I've done my part, the rest is out of my hands and all I can wish for, is:
1) treatment works or helps in any way
2) the patient recovers.
If all works and goes well for the patient, and I am able to meet them one day, I would say in a tongue and cheek way: “I run on the good stuff, how you finding it?”
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and for your selfless act David. You've given a second chance of life to someone with a blood cancer!
Want to go on standby to save a life yourself? Then 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 join the stem cell registry.