“I’m putting my story out there, in the hope that it helps someone else”
Fahad, 29, lives in London with his wife, his daughter, three and his son, one. He was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma in September 2020 after having symptoms of fatigue and itchy skin.
Fahad received seven rounds of chemotherapy, he had been in remission but unfortunately, the cancer returned. In November 2021. His own stem cells were harvested, aiming to push the cancer into remission once more. This involved more aggressive chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. However, he has to wait to know if this was successful. There is a possibility that Fahad may still need a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
Finding a matching donor for Fahad may be more difficult due to his Pakistani heritage. Currently, patients from white European backgrounds have a 69% chance of finding their perfect donor match on the register, but this falls to just 20% for people from minority ethnic backgrounds because of a lack of people from these communities on the register.
Fahad said, “Before my diagnosis, I was not aware of the importance of stem cell donation in the fight against blood cancers. It’s an amazing thing to be able to save a life.”
Every year more than 2,000 patients in the UK need a blood stem cell donation from someone they’re not related to. Yet only two percent of the UK's population are registered as potential blood stem cell donors. The more people who join the register, the more chance there is of people in need, such as Fahad, finding a match that could potentially save their life.