Sean Parsons signed up as a potential blood stem cell donor after a friend lost a loved one to leukaemia.
Not long after, he was identified as a match for someone in urgent need. Now, as one of the faces of DKMS’ campaign, Sean tells his story…
“I first heard about DKMS in 2014 from a friend who had tragically lost someone from leukaemia. I went home and signed up as a potential blood stem cell donor on DKMS’ website that night. Not too long after, I got my swab kit through the door.
“I’d never heard of blood stem cell donation before but it felt like quite an easy way to help someone out. I was only on the registry for about two or three months before I got a phone call to say I was a match for someone in need.
“It was quite a weird feeling but I was so happy to know that I could potentially save someone’s life. When I told my friends and family that I’d been matched I had to do a lot of explaining about what it all meant - but they were more than elated!
“After I’d confirmed I wanted to make the donation, DKMS arranged health checks, blood tests and, just before the donation day, some GCSF injections. All of this was to make sure that I could donate enough blood stem cells without being unwell.
“I’d already read up about the donation processes on DKMS’ website but I still felt a little nervous. I was quickly reassured by the hospital nurses though.
“I arrived at the hospital in the morning and had a final health check. My nurse explained how the peripheral blood stem cell collection method works and went through all the equipment that would be needed (all very impressive state of the art stuff!)
“My donation took a few hours and in the meantime all I had to do was lie in bed! I was made very comfortable by all the staff at the hospital and a representative of DKMS came to visit me to make sure everything was running smoothly. It couldn't have been easier. After the donation was complete, my blood stem cells were transported immediately to my match and I was on my way home by lunchtime.
“I’m supporting DKMS because, if you can potentially save someone’s life, to me it doesn’t make any sense why you wouldn’t. When I got the call to donate, I can hand-on-heart say it was one of the proudest moments of my life. It feels like one of my greatest triumphs. I hope I can be a match again to help another person.”
If you’re ever selected as a potential blood stem cell donor, it’s vital that we can get in touch as soon as possible. If your address or contact details have changed since you registered, please take a moment to update your details today.
You just might be the lifesaver someone is urgently looking for.