Donor Story

From local action to global impact

Young Cirencester-based outdoors fan Alex donates bone marrow to a patient in need of a potentially lifesaving transplant.


“What you’re doing can help someone. Hopefully, my recipient now has a lot more life to look forward to,” shares recent stem cell donor Alex.

At just 23 years old, Alex, an energetic and outdoors-loving recruiter from Cirencester, has always been committed to helping others — when he’s not scaling mountains in his free time he’s guiding armed services veterans into new careers. His generosity took a more personal turn recently, when he donated his bone marrow to a young patient.

From local festival encounter to donation

“I first learned about DKMS at the Phoenix Festival in my town back in August 2023. There was a stall, and I got talking to a volunteer. I swabbed my cheeks and registered right then,” Alex recalls.

The call came quickly; by October, Alex was a match for patient. “Less than three months after I signed up, I was called to be a potential match for a patient! I was excited to hear the call. I was really interested and invested in the process."

The vast majority of stem cell donations are made through a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood. But in approximately ten per cent of cases, due to the needs of the recipient, a donor’s bone marrow is extracted under general anaesthetic via a simple needle in their hip bone. This was the case for Alex, who faced initial nerves but found reassurance in the DKMS team's support. “The focus was on the person I could help, which outweighed any nervousness I had”.

His friends and family also recognized the importance of his decision. “They were nervous for me but amazed at the same time,” he says. At the hospital, Alex's experience was exceptional, marked by a surprising level of comfort. “I felt like royalty! I had five meals in one day, thanks to the room service phone by my bed”.

A personal inspiration

Recovery was quick for Alex, who was back on his feet within 48 hours, ready to resume his active lifestyle. Due to strict regulations protecting the anonymity of donors and recipients immediately after a donation, Alex knows very little about the patient who received his stem cells—only that she is a woman in her twenties living in the United States. This makes his gesture even more remarkable. Reflecting on his connection with her, Alex shared, “I’d love to meet or talk to her one day. It’s incredible how this process connects people, globally.”

Alex's motivation is also deeply personal, inspired by a family connection. “My mum’s friend’s brother survived leukaemia because of a stem cell transplant. I’ve seen the impact first-hand,” he notes.

The urgent need for diverse donors

“I think maybe the reason that I got the call so quickly after signing up is because we need more people from my background on the register,” shared Alex.

People from dual heritage backgrounds, like Alex whose father is Ghanaian, are under-represented on the stem cell register. Additionally, it can be more difficult for them to find a potentially lifesaving match, should they need a stem cell donor.

Alex's story is not only a personal journey but also a call to action for others to join the registry and potentially make an impact in the life of a stranger. You could be the perfect match for someone in need of a second chance at life, so why not register today?

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