Donor Story

'A good way to give something back'

Meet James who told us about his donating experience and what it meant to him.


Blood stem cell donor James, 39, lives in Dorset with his wife, a bookkeeper. and two children, aged eight and two. He loves spending time at the beach paddleboarding and snorkelling, and going camping with his family. He likes to keep fit by running and going to a weekly kickboxing class, and is also interested in metal detecting and archery.

Q: How did you hear about DKMS and blood stem cell donation?

I didn't know much about DKMS or the work they do until I saw an appeal by comedian Al Murray on TV.

Q: What inspired you to sign up?

At the start of the pandemic, I was on furlough from my factory job. I wanted to do something to help out. As my wife was eight months pregnant, I didn't want to risk being on the front line, so when I saw the TV appeal I thought that would be a good way to give something back.

Q: How did you feel when you were told you were a match for someone?

It felt good to be matched to someone, but I knew there was a long way to go. I was excited and worried about being away from home for two nights.

James and his two children

Q: What did the donation involve?

When I was first confirmed as a match, I had lots of questions but was talked through the donation process by DKMS and all was made clear.

As part of the donation process, I had to undergo full medicals which was a good chance to check my own health and my suitability for donation. I got the all-clear and made arrangements to donate. As my stem cells were due to be taken directly from my hip, I had to stay in hospital for two nights, but I was very well looked after even with all of the Covid-related restrictions.

Q: How did you feel after your donation?

After my donation, I was fairly tired and light-headed but by the next day, I was on my feet and on my way home. For the next week, I had to take it easy but it wasn't long before I was back to full health.

Q: What does the donation mean to you?

Once I received the news that the transplant had taken place and my recipient was a man from the US, I was shocked. I hadn't thought my donation would go all the way to someone in America. I just keep my fingers crossed it all works out for him.

Q: What would you say to anyone who might be considering registering as a potential blood stem cell donor?

To anyone who is thinking of registering, I would say go for it! It's really simple to send in your swabs and you could end up saving a life. The whole process is simple, DKMS sort everything out; all you have to do is say 'Yes' and be willing.

I would happily donate again given the opportunity.

Related donor stories