Give me a chance - I’m 28...and not ready to die just yet
Sheldon, 28, from Malvern in Worcestershire (originally from Cardiff), was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2016. Here, the busy supermarket manager shares his highs and lows and his desperate search for a stem cell donor.
“In 2016 I remember visiting the doctor because I wasn’t feeling very well. I’m not usually one to go to the doctor, but I knew I couldn’t delay it any longer as my body just didn’t feel right. I went to the GP and shortly after, (October 2016) I was admitted into hospital. My results came back in early December and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. It suddenly dawned on me that I had cancer. They are very surreal words to hear especially when they are directed at you! All I knew was that I was going to fight it with all my mite. Firstly, I checked to see if my brother was a match, but sadly he wasn’t.”
Meeting Ed Sheeran
“I spoke to my local hospital about referring me to University Hospital of Wales, because it was based in Cardiff - where my parents live and meant they could to care for me. Thankfully, my local hospital agreed and I underwent six months of chemotherapy. I was only 24 at the time at the time of my diagnosis and I have to say, I did, at times feel a little sorry for myself. I was treated in the hospital’s teenage Cancer unit, who arranged for me to meet Ed Sheeran in 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Back to the world
“Eventually, I went into remission in June of 2017 – it was a fantastic feeling. When you go into remission, you daren’t forget to appreciate the small things in life. I was so happy to get back to spending time with my partner. I even went so far as to start thinking again about pursuing my hobby as a TV and film extra.”
Relapse and autologous stem cell
Unfortunately, my period of remission only lasted for 18 months – I relapsed in January 2019. I was treated with more chemotherapy and then had an autologous stem cell operation several months later in August. This is where my own stem cells were used to replace my damaged ones. Sadly, it wasn’t to last, because a year after my first relapse the cancer returned for a second time in January 2020.”
Not ready to die
“I know that my medical team has done everything they could have done for me. All treatment has been unsuccessful and I’ve relapsed twice, so I really am down to my last chance now It’s simple, I want a second chance of life which means relying on the help of a stranger. I’ve teamed up with DKMS so they can help me find that person. I have so much more living to do and dreams to fulfil. I adore my partner and our recent addition to our household - our Labradoodle, Charlie. Please give me a chance - I’m only 28…and not ready to die just yet.”
Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.
A note about Coronavirus
We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.
If you're a match
If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.
Together we will beat blood cancer.
To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.
It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.
If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.