Donor Story

Challenging the status quo

Meet blood stem cell donor Vivek


Blood stem cell donor Vivek Vadoliya is a London-based photographer and film maker. Working between documentary, fashion and portraiture, Vivek's projects explore themes that are rooted in experience, such as British Asian identity, societal masculinity and beauty ideals.

Growing up with a cross-cultural upbringing in the British suburbs, Vivek uses his photographs and films to challenge the status quo in representations of beauty and culture by brands – something he sees as a constant conversation.

Vivek Vadoliya

“I'm always trying to celebrate ordinary people. For me, that looks like people who may be marginalised, and that's not necessarily limited to race or colour, that can be in lots of different ways. I'm interested in people who you might walk past on the street.”

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

I knew very little about DKMS and stem cell donation, the little I did know was inaccurate. I knew it had the potential to save someone's life though.

Q: What inspired you to sign up?

I was inspired to join by my cousin. He mentioned that there was a lack of South Asian and black people on the register, and that we should all sign up to add more variety to the database.

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

I felt really excited that I could potentially help someone, I was curious to know who they were too!

Q: What did the donation involve?

I had to go for the a blood test and a consultation to talk through the process. Once that was complete, my booking for the donation was locked in.

Q: How did you feel after your donation?

I felt a little tired but mostly grateful that I was able to donate. The next day, I was pretty much back to full health, apart from a slightly achy arm.

Image of three Asian female faces with their eyees closed
South Asian man wearing colourful clothes and a silver headdress

Q: What does the donation mean to you?

During the time, my mother was fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. I felt pretty helpless in her situation. I knew I couldn’t help her, but I could help someone else. For me, it was as much about spreading goodwill and gratitude into the world!

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

It’s not as daunting and it may seem. It’s totally worth donating, everyone is so lovely and they really support you through the process.

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