Press Release

First stem cell donation marks a milestone in Scotland's fight against blood cancer

Dedicated SNBTS staff and Edinburgh local Gemma


Edinburgh, 31 August 2023 An important stride towards enhancing accessibility and awareness of potentially life-saving stem cell donations in Scotland is being celebrated by blood cancer charity DKMS and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS). This month, Gemma, from Edinburgh, became the first-ever unrelated blood stem cell donor in Scotland through a partnership between DKMS and SNBTS. This milestone marks the beginning of a transformative journey for numerous patients battling blood cancer and disorders.

The collaboration between DKMS and SNBTS establishes the first collection service for unrelated blood stem cell donors in Scotland. This will substantially reduce travel time for Scottish donors. The new centre makes stem cell donation more accessible to DKMS donors residing in Scotland and facilitates quicker cell collection for patients. Previously, donors had to travel to Sheffield or London for assessment and donation.

Gemma, registered with DKMS as a potential donor since 2015, said: "I will always remember when I saw the email saying I was a potential match, you couldn’t scrape me off the ceiling, I was so excited, I ran to tell everyone, I couldn’t stop smiling.”

As an SNBTS staff member, Gemma understands the significance of her donation and its impact on patients' lives. Her act of kindness sets a powerful example, highlighting the vital role individuals play in shaping healthcare's future.

Helen Kelly, Head of Projects and Operations at DKMS, expressed delight at this milestone: "Gemma's generosity and dedication are truly inspiring. Her donation exemplifies the positive change possible when individuals unite against blood cancer. We're grateful for Gemma's contribution and anticipate more transformed lives through future donations at the new Edinburgh centre."

Dr Lynn Manson, SNBTS Clinical Lead for Therapeutic Apheresis Services, emphasised the need for the new facility: "An Edinburgh facility will reduce travel time for donors and help ensure stem cell donations are available when needed."

Gemma's landmark donation heralds the new collection centre’s potential to welcome numerous donors. Equipped with cutting-edge technology and a dedicated team, it ensures a seamless and efficient donation process, advancing patient care.

As Gemma's donation highlights the power of individual contributions, DKMS and SNBTS issue a heartfelt call to action. Individuals aged 17 to 55 are urged to register as potential donors with DKMS, forming a community that can offer second chances at life. Visit for more information.


About DKMS

DKMS is one of the most significant non-profit organisations in the world dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. Founded in Germany in 1991 by Dr Peter Harf, DKMS and the organisation’s over 1,000 employees have since relentlessly pursued the aim of giving as many patients as possible a second chance at life. With 11.5 million registered donors, DKMS has succeeded in doing these 105,000 times to date by providing blood stem cell donations to those in need. This accomplishment has led to DKMS becoming the global leader in the facilitation of unrelated blood stem cell transplants.

The organisation has offices in Germany, the US, Poland, the UK, Chile, and South Africa. In India, DKMS has founded the joint venture DKMS-BMST together with the Bangalore Medical Services Trust. International expansion and collaboration are key to helping patients worldwide because like the organisation itself, blood cancer knows no borders. DKMS is also heavily involved in the fields of medicine and science, with its own research unit focused on continually improving the survival and recovery rate of patients.

About the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS)

SNBTS, a directorate of NHS National Services Scotland, provides blood, tissues, and cells to NHS Scotland, ensuring they’re available countrywide, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We also provide specialist treatment and therapeutic solutions to Scotland’s patients, as well as specialist testing and diagnostic services to ensure that all Scottish patients receive the most appropriate products for their needs.

SNBTS comprehensive services ensure high standards of quality, safety, and efficacy in blood transfusion and transplantation, supporting patient care across the nation. For more information, visit

For further information

Please contact Michael Gallagher, PR and Media Officer, email, tel. 0208 747 5642.

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