Saturday, 2 August 2014

Being a donor

A few months ago I gave a talk on stem cell donation, which is where you can be matched with a patient suffering from a life-threatening illness such as cancer, and donate stem cells which could save their life, much in the same way that people give blood. (You can see if you're eligible here and look at what the process entails here.)

For a lot of people, the phrase "it's as easy as giving blood!" doesn't hold much weight, because many people have no experience of blood donation either -- a notion which I find peculiar, having seen my parents donate many times when I was younger, and having already given blood twice myself.

But why isn't it more common?

From speaking to various non-donors, it seems that the main problem is lack of awareness -- people recognise that they can contribute in some way, but aren't sure how to, or how much of an inconvenience it might be, and so nothing really comes of it.

Because of this, I thought it might be wise to post some links for people to read through at their leisure, and to think about.

NHS blood donation

Anthony Nolan - about the stem cell register
NHS organ donation

Many people who sign up as a stem cell or organ donor will not donate, either because there is no match or because the organs are not in the right conditions. This means that having as many people on the registers as possible gives the best chance of success.

With blood donation, only a small percentage of those who can donate ever do, and surely the motivation to potentially save a life (coupled with the free food and drink at the session) can combat pre-donation nerves. I can honestly say that I come away from sessions feeling better about myself, and there is nothing to worry about.

Either way, hopefully this post will have given you something to think about, and perhaps encouraged you to dare to save a life...? :-)

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