I learnt that there is actually a register of stem cell donors and when a blood cancer patient needs a donation, the register is checked for a match. More donors are needed on this register. If you donate stem cells it isn't any more intrusive than giving blood. So I registered for a pack online, I did all this before I finished my cup of coffee, it's that simple.
My pack arrived in the post and included two cheek swabs. I whizzed both the swabs in my cheeks, stuck my individual donor sticker on the envelope, popped them in and used the free post envelope to post them. It doesn't cost anything other than 5 minutes of your time!
Register online here: http://www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk
Who is eligible to donate?
Any healthy adult living in the UK, between the ages of 18 and 55 can become a donor, and pre-registration is possible from the age of 17. However if you have, or have had in the past, a chronic or other serious condition (some of the most important examples are listed below) or take any medications regularly, please discuss this for initial guidance with a member of the Delete Blood Cancer UK team.
The most important exclusion criteria, which means you cannot register:
- Heart diseases (e. g. previous heart attack, coronary heart disease)
- Lung diseases (e. g. severe bronchial asthma)
- Diseases of the haematopoietic system
- Severe kidney diseases
- Severe illnesses of the central nervous system
- HIV or Aids
- Metabolic diseases (e. g. diabetes)
- Autoimmune conditions (e. g. rheumatism)
- Severe infectious diseases, (e. g. infectious jaundice, Hepatitis B, C)
- Weight under 7 stone 12 lbs/50 kg
- Obesity (i.e. body mass index (BMI) > 40)