Be a Match, Save a Life
At the start of November 2013 my sister, Olivia, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
It turned our world upside down and has been a very difficult time for all the family, especially for her two wee boys. Due to the nature of her leukaemia she needed a stem cell transplant (more commonly known as a bone marrow transplant).
Thanks to the amazing work of the Anthony Nolan charity 42 worldwide potential matches were found, the most promising was a lady in Germany.
In April 2014 Olivia had the stem cell transplant and as far as could be determined she was cured of the leukaemia. Sadly complications from the side-effects meant she died in August 2016.
For many people with a blood cancer the only hope of survival is from a stem cell transplant, and although there is international collaboration between the donor registers they are always looking for more people to sign up.
The least it takes is a saliva sample but at most it could save a life.
For around 90% of donors the procedure is no scarier than an extended blood donation! In fact if you are giving blood you can request to be added to the bone marrow register at the same time.
UK residents over 30 will need to register with the British Bone Marrow Registry instead of with Anthony Nolan. If you are from outside the UK you can find information about your national register at Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide.
The generosity of a stranger from Germany gave my sister an extra two and a half years or life, and the hope of survial. Maybe you might be able to do the same for someone too.