Katherine was a 'perfect match' for her patient
Blood stem cell donor Katherine lives in East Yorkshire with her husband and two daughters. She works in local government and loves going on holiday, running (when it's not too hot!), reading, and taking family trips.
Q: How did you hear about DKMS and blood stem cell donation and what inspired you to sign up?
I joined the register a few years before, after seeing a post on social media from a young boy seeking a donor for his critically ill father.
Q: How did you feel when you were told you were a match for someone?
I honestly felt so lucky when I was told I was a match for someone, and so excited to be able to do something amazing.
Q: What did the donation involve?
Once on the register, there is about a 1 in 800 chance of being matched. Most patients require peripheral stem cells, but around 1 in 10 need a bone marrow transplant, as was the case for my patient. Following some blood tests at my GP to check compatibility and a medical assessment, I was confirmed as a ‘perfect’ match.
This meant that I had to travel to the London Clinic for an operation to remove bone marrow stem cells from my pelvis. All expenses, including those of a companion, are paid for by DKMS. The operation went very smoothly and I was looked after very well in the clinic, with a room service menu and satellite channels!
Q: How did you feel after your donation?
After my donation, I felt tired for a few days and had to rest up, which meant my husband had to do the housework for a change! I had no pain though and would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Shortly after the operation, I was told by DKMS that the patient, who had already received my stem cells, was a pre-school-aged little girl with blood cancer living somewhere in the UK. Following the transplant, the little girl will need to spend weeks or months in hospital, but the likelihood of a positive prognosis for children who receive stem cells is high.
I am hopeful that one day it will be possible to anonymously communicate with my match, and, if my patient and her family agree, meet up.
Q: What does your donation mean to you?
Being able to donate was one of the proudest moments of my life. Finding out that the operation had gone well, and that the patient's team was really happy, made me quite emotional.
Q: What would you say to anyone who might be considering registering as a potential blood stem cell donor?
I would totally recommend registering to be a stem cell donor. You don't get many chances in life to potentially save someone's life!