Sam becomes a lifesaver in lockdown

10 August 2020

Sam registered as a potential blood stem cell donor with us in 2019 after being inspired by Peter McCleave’s search to find his lifesaver.

Peter is a father of two young boys who discovered he had blood cancer shortly after running an Ironman Triathlon. He quickly went from being the fittest he had ever been, completing gruelling workouts several days a week in preparation for the triathlon, to hearing the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with a condition he’d never heard of - and given just seven years to live.

Peter is still urgently searching for his matching blood stem cell donor and has played an influential role in raising awareness of blood stem cell donations and  encouraging thousands of people  to register with us.

Sam received that all important call to say he was a potential match for a complete stranger and donated his blood stem cells in the mist of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “I’d been registered for about a year before I received the call telling me I might be the best match for a patient. It was really exciting knowing that I could potentially save someone’s life and really help a family in need.

I went for medical checks at a local hospital to determine I was the best match and this was confirmed a few weeks later. I  had to undergo the prep for donation and have final checks during COVID-19 quarantine and the DKMS team had been great at ensuring that this remained a safe and smooth process.

I was a bit nervous but also felt so lucky that I had the opportunity to add some positivity to the world given  the current climate. I didn’t know you could donate blood stem cells until I learnt about DKMS. It was  straightforward completing the initial  registration process that I’d encourage anyone who can do it, to just do it! Especially as it’s a good deed you can do while still observing social distancing. I can’t imagine how powerless the families still waiting on a match for a loved one must feel. There could be a family out there relying on you to register and save their loved ones so get on with it today!”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a 49% drop in registrations and we are calling on more people to take the first steps and register for a home swab kit. You will need to return the swab kit back to us to ensure your details are added to the UK’s Aligned Stem Cell Registry and you will go on standby.

Sam donated his blood stem cells through the PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell)  method, a process similar to giving blood which is done is used in 90% of cases. In a much smaller 10% of cases, the blood stem cells will be collected via the bone marrow.

How you can help

If you’d like to register as a potential blood stem cell donor you can check your eligibility and request a home swab kit 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?