"You never realise how much people’s generosity is needed until it hits close to home"

16 February 2018

Blood stem cell donor Ellie kindly shares her experience of giving someone a second chance of life:

“I heard about DKMS because of a family member who had recently had a stem cell transplant. I can recall how I felt knowing that he could not find a match within his family, it’s just devastating. This is what inspired me to sign up. You never realise how much people’s generosity is needed until it hits close to home.

I had only been on the registry for roughly three months. I was never expecting to get a call to say I was a match, let alone in such a short amount of time. I was very overwhelmed when I found out, the first thing I did was ring my mum in tears.

After this call, some medical tests were arranged to make sure I was healthy enough to continue. After the “all clear”, the next step was a round of G-CSF injections in my arms each morning in the four days leading up to the donation. I then had to travel to a hotel nearby the hospital where the donation was taking place.

The morning of the donation I was linked up to special machines and spent a few hours watching Netflix while the stem cells were collected from my blood. The whole process was so simple and over in no time. I was even finished early enough for me and my boyfriend to go out for lunch!

Ellie beginning her blood stem cell donation
Ellie beginning her blood stem cell donation via peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection

Because I’m quite small in comparison to the person receiving my stem cells, the process did have to be repeated the next day to ensure they got enough. But again, it was just as simple as the day before.

It didn’t really register for a few days the fact that I’d just given someone their second chance at life. But once reality kicked in, I felt very emotional; you just can’t imagine how it feels to know you have done that for someone.

Ellie donating her blood stem cells
Ellie gave someone a second chance of life.

I would definitely donate again if the chance arises and will always urge other people to sign up to the registry. Only 30% of people with a blood cancer can find a suitable match within their family, and so if people are willing to give up a few hours of their time, so many people’s lives can be saved. I think that is amazing.

Thank you to Ellie for sharing her personal story and giving a second chance of life to someone with a blood cancer or a blood disorder.

Are you feeling inspired? If you’d 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 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?