London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) are delighted to support Gareth and DKMS in their mission to encourage as many people as possible to join the stem cell register. Here is Gareth's story.
My wife and I tragically lost our son, Henry, to a rare condition called aplastic anaemia. Until Henry’s diagnosis in August 2018, I knew nothing about the condition itself, nor how vital a stem cell transplant was in terms of treatment.
I didn’t know there was a register for blood stem cell donors. I didn’t know that the lack of a matching donor on that register would lead to the passing of my healthy, happy and handsome six-year-old son.
I know now.
Since then, I have spoken to lots of people about Henry and his condition, and almost all have been shocked to hear that they could have done something to help Henry and many others like him.
Those that did know anything about the process of donation were under the mistaken belief that it was an onerous and risky process for the donor. It really isn’t.
I know because I’ve done it.
So, in order that something positive might come out of something so utterly heartbreaking and, in an effort to prevent other people and their loved ones, from having to go through the same ordeal as Henry, I want to get the word out about the blood stem cell donor register and stem cell donation.
If we know about it, we can do something about it.
I am working with DKMS, a blood cancer charity doing vital work in supporting the registration of people on the aligned UK stem cell registry, and ultimately in assisting them in the donation of stem cells to the 80,000 people worldwide each year who need them.
Our goal is simple: to get people to sign up to the register. It takes minutes. It could save a life. It’s that simple.
Registering is extremely straightforward too; filling in a form and providing a DNA sample taken by cheek swab (which is far less unpleasant than Covid swabs!) are the only things standing between you and the potential to become a real life superhero. You can read about the full donation journey here.
So now you know too, there really is no excuse for not doing this. Today. Right now.
Click the link, order the kit to be sent to your home. When it arrives, take the swab and send it back. That’s it, about 10 minutes of your day. I guarantee that nothing else you do today will be more important, more impactful.
Sadly, it’s too late for Henry, but the fact that finding a matching donor on the register may well have meant that he’d still be here now is something that I still think about every single day.
That my wonderful, warm and cheeky little boy was taken from me at six years old because his ‘match’ probably didn’t know about the register, or how easy it is to get on it, or how straightforward the donation process is.
That this was all so avoidable.
If you are reading this, then you do know these things now. So please, sign up today, and become a real life superhero.