Oxford University student Zac Giles was formerly a patient with DKMS. Now he is looking forward to a future as a policy maker aiming to change awareness of stem cell donation.
Location: Lives in Hampshire, England with his mother, father and sister.
Occupation: Student reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University of Oxford.
Hopes for 2023, current hopes: To continue my studies with the goal of eventually entering the world of policy making.
What amusing or interesting phrase do you think the initials DKMS could stand for in English?: Donating Knowledgeably Makes Sense
I am a former leukaemia patient who DKMS helped acquire a stem cell match for. I am now a student volunteer supporting DKMS events at my university.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to spend a few days shadowing Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. Lord Hunt sponsored the Organ Donation (Presumed Consent) Bill through the House of Lords; the Bill has now been enacted into UK law. All adults in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.
I took the opportunity to speak to Lord Hunt about my experience. We discussed the idea of potentially pushing for the process of signing up to be a blood donor to also include the option of joining the stem cell registry. He was willing to put forward an oral question relating to it in the House of Lords that would hopefully raise awareness of both the prospect of doing so to the Government (and put a certain degree of pressure to act on it), and also raise awareness more widely.
I was diagnosed with Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at age 9, then relapsed at age 13. DKMS were able to obtain a stem cell match for me, and again when complications meant I had to have a second transplant at 16.
I would like to see existing blood donors being encouraged to donate; those who fit the most desirable profile for stem cell donors and who are already likely to be willing to donate.