Meet Rachael, a blood stem cell donor from Wigan, who became a patient's 'perfect match'.
Rachael lives in Wigan, Greater Manchester with her husband, two stepchildren, and two dogs where she runs a land promotion company, Ainscough Strategic Land. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys CrossFit, walking her dogs Cassius and Darcey, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Q: How did you hear about DKMS and blood stem cell donation? What inspired you to sign up?
A member of my husband’s family was undergoing a stem cell transplant a few years ago and suggested to the family that we should all register, which of course, I did.
Q: How did you feel when you were told you were a match for someone?
A little bit nervous and apprehensive at first but also very privileged to have been given the opportunity to help someone in such a huge way. Saying yes was an absolute no-brainer.
Q: What did the donation involve?
After being told I was a potential match I attended a medical assessment to confirm that I was healthy enough to continue with the donation, and also to check that I was definitely an appropriate match for the patient. Once that was confirmed we agreed on a date and location for the donation.
For the few days running up to the donation, a nurse came to my house each day to inject me with something which stimulated further stem cell production. The injections did make me feel a bit under the weather but nothing significant, I was still able to work, etc. I just didn’t feel quite as full of energy as normal.
The donation itself was no big deal at all. I was only in the hospital for one day and everyone looked after me so well. I was told later that evening that plenty of stem cells had been recovered and that I wouldn’t need to return for the second day, so I could travel home and rest. I felt a little bit tired for a couple of days but after that, I was completely back to normal.
Q: How did you feel after your donation?
I felt very emotional for a few days after the donation. It is so incredible to think that what you have done has potentially saved a total stranger's life! There’s no feeling quite like it, but I felt very proud and extremely privileged to have had the opportunity. I thought a lot about what the patient must be going through and that hopefully they at least now have some hope for the future.
Q: What does the donation mean to you?
It means so much to have been able to help save a life. A while after my donation I found out that the transplant had been successful, and that the patient had since been discharged from hospital. It was such amazing news to receive and actually came through the week of my wedding, which just made everything even more special!
Q: What would you say to anyone who might be considering registering as a potential blood stem cell donor?
Without a doubt, do it!! There is really no reason not to. If you are lucky enough to be a match, donating will be one of the best things you’ll ever do!