Meet blood stem cell donor Cristina
My name is Cristina, I live in UK and I work as a nurse! I’m a wife and a mum of a cheeky little girl. I like outdoors, playing guitar and listen to music!
Q: How did you hear about DKMS and blood stem cell donation?
I heard about DKMS because in the hospital where I work they were (and still are) looking for a match for young girl who is fighting blood cancer. Being a mum, I couldn’t hesitate! Thinking about her I joined DMKS straight away and I requested my swab kit hoping to be a match either for her or for somebody else in the world.
Q: How did you feel when you were told you were a match for someone?
I thought it was never going to happen, or maybe that it would have taken years and years, but actually less than 11 months after my registration I got that phone call: “You’re a possible match for a patient!”. That was one of the best feeling ever, I was so happy to be able to help someone and I felt really honoured.
Q: What did the donation involve?
The donation involved some medical checks like blood tests and ECG in London to ensure that I was the best match for the patient.
When they got the confirmation, I was given instructions to follow before I could donate. I had four injections of a growth factor called G-CSF to enable my body to start producing more stem cells. The injections gave me some mild back pain which was fine after taking paracetamol. This had been explained to me beforehand so I was prepared.
I went to a London hospital to begin the blood stem cell donation, which involved using a PBSC machine to slowly collect my blood stem cells. My donation took most of the day; I had to come back also the next day for the same procedure. They explained to me that the amount of stem cell collected on the first day wasn’t enough for the target needed for my patient, as I’m quite petite.
The hospital was lovely and so were the staff. I spent the time watching movies on my phone and being in touch with friends and family.
Q: How did you feel after your donation?
I felt generally ok, a bit tired but nothing terrible, I managed to go back home by train on my own so it was absolutely fine.
Q: What does the donation mean to you?
It means a lot for me being able to help another person to have a second chance at life. Because of my work I try to do it every day, but this was on completely another level, the feeling was stronger as I was 100% involved in the process with my whole body.
Q: What would you say to anyone who might be considering registering as a potential blood stem cell donor?
Please do it! There are lots of people out there waiting for a miracle to save their life, and this miracle might only be you and nothing else!