In 2019, Louise received a life-changing call: she was a stem cell match for someone in need.
“If it was my child waiting for a transplant I’d be shouting and screaming and hollering for someone to help to find a match.”
Louise, a mum of three from Belfast, had no idea the incredible impact she would have on a young girl halfway across the world when she joined the stem cell register with DKMS. Neither did she know she’d become a DOUBLE donor superhero!
Louise shares, “When I first donated in 2019, the [anonymity] regulations meant that I just knew my recipient was a young girl in Canada, but then two years later, when named contact was possible, I discovered my recipient was a teenager called Sam. Soon after, her Dad and I got in touch."
“From then on, I got updates on how she was doing. I was especially touched when she sent me her school graduation photo. Then, in June 2023, she let me know that she had been accepted into university to study to become a nurse. Having spent so much time in hospital being cared for by nurses, Sam wanted to give something back. She told me, 'I want to help because you helped me'; that had me in tears!"
“Sadly, two weeks before she was due to start her studies, Sam was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and her doctors said she would need another stem cell transplant. I am a 10 out of 10 perfect match for Sam, so DKMS reached out to me to see if I would be comfortable with donating again: I said ‘yes’ straight away."
“I’ve now heard from Sam's family that engraftment was confirmed on Christmas Day! Engraftment is when the blood-forming cells received on transplant day start to grow and make healthy blood cells. It's an important milestone in transplant recovery and it's a huge step for Sam! This is honestly the most meaningful and most important Christmas present I've given anyone, and I am so thrilled that it gives Sam a chance to live the life she deserves. “She's such an inspiration for fighting this not once, but twice! I'm honestly in awe of her."
"But the fight isn't over for other people. But for some, it is just beginning. So, if you haven't already registered with DKMS UK please do it now!”
Not every donor gets to donate twice like Louise, but they’re all heroes! If you’re 17-55 and in general good health, join Louise on the stem cell register today at dkms.org.uk/register.