25 May 2018
Alex is a 31-year-old guy from London. He registered as a blood stem cell donor two years ago because his friend Emma started a big social media campaign to find a match for her father who was battling blood cancer.
“I received a swab test through the post: I was impressed how efficient this was. I completed the swab test and sent it back to DKMS in the post. And that was it, I didn’t expect to hear anything again.
But Alex got the chance to become a real lifesaver – only two years later:
Potential blood stem cell match
“One day sitting in my office I receive an email from DKMS and it’s saying that I would be the match for a patient. When I heard that, I felt like my life was turned upside down a little with pure happiness and a little bit of nervousness."
Alex was very proud to be “the one lifesaver” for a patient. But he also realised that very few people knew about blood stem cell donations: “I was told about the two types of procedure and people had misconceptions about these.
Most people kept on telling me I’d get a very invasive operation in my back. But now I knew better. So personally I didn’t mind which procedure I’d receive.
I’m not a religious person but I felt really excited knowing there was ‘something’ in me which makes me a little bit special. Knowing this you’d never in a million years want to pull out of donating“
Alex donated some of his blood stem cells through Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection and is happy about his decision to have registered and gone on to donate: “I can’t even compare or comprehend what a patient, dealing with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, is going through.
Although I had four days of moderate pain and one day in hospital, you can’t even draw the slightest comparison to the pain of the patient. Ultimately, you know you’ll get better. Unfortunately, the patient still has a long battle ahead.”
After the blood stem cell donation
„My fiancé felt very proud of me and it really began to resonate with my work colleagues, especially when I came into the office and said I’ve been picked as the best possible match.
I was elated. I felt a bit emotional because the hope is you are going to save someone, but you don’t know what exactly is going to happen. This is such a powerful feeling.“
DKMS found a big supporter in Alex who is encouraging family and friends to register: “In this life you have many opportunities which impact people in many different ways. But through a blood stem cell donation you give someone the chance of a second life through a liquid organ donation. People don’t think about this – but you are giving someone your immune system.”
Unfortunately Alex’ friend Emma and her sister lost their dad. They didn’t find a match for their dad who was battling lymphoma. But their campaign was the reason why Alex registered and was able to give a patient a second chance of life: “The whole thing was made even special when I got a message from my friend Emma to say thank you. But I told her that there’s no reason to thank me because her dad’s campaign was the reason which led me to possibly saving someone else.”
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.