Blood stem cell donor Zoe has donated twice.
As if people who donate their stem cells aren’t incredible enough, 99% of DKMS donors have said that they would happily go through the donation process again.
Last autumn, Zoe did just that.
She was inspired to sign up for the blood stem cell register when she learned that her tissue type was rare, as she is from a mixed heritage.
"That first phone call, finding out I was a match was both exciting and nerve-wracking. What did this mean? What is the procedure? But the team explained everything so well. I couldn't have been more informed."
“On my first donation day, I checked in to the hospital and was looked after by an amazing team who explained everything clearly and to be honest, the actual donation was painless. The G-CSF injections that you take four days prior to donating are a little discomforting but looking at the bigger picture and the reason for those injections, you really can't complain. Those injections boosted my stem cells so much I donated nearly double what the patient needed!
“All the people I have spoken to both times have been informative and caring along the journey. The staff at the hospital were fantastic. Just a lovely, friendly team. Immediately after donation, I was tired for a few days but there was absolutely no pain whatsoever.
“Knowing I have donated my stem cells, potentially saving someone's life is surreal, but also a lovely, rewarding feeling. A few days out of my life has potentially given someone the rest of theirs.”
Donors of African, Caribbean and other black heritage are always in high demand. There are some illnesses, such as multiple myeloma and sickle cell disease, that disproportionately affect people from these backgrounds.
"People who are from a similar heritage to mine will often wait longer for donations. There is a shortage of our tissue type on the register due to the low rate of donors who sign up to organisations like DKMS from my community", explained Zoe.
"The demand for rare tissue types is high and anything I can do, or we can do as a community to bring change, share information and increase donors will ultimately save lives.”