LIVERPOOL LIFESAVER: First person to donate lifesaving stem cells in new partnership
James Moore, 26, from Liverpool, recently became a lifesaver after donating his blood stem cells to a complete stranger to give them a second chance at life.
James was inspired to register as a potential blood stem cell donor after hearing of a local boy, Finn McEwen’s search to find his lifesaver, in 2015. He attended a donor registration event, took the first steps to become a lifesaver-in-waiting and was on the registry for a few years before being identified as a match for someone in need.
James became the first person to donate lifesaving blood stem cells as part of a new partnership between the charity, NHS Blood and Transplant and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is now urging others to take the first step and register as potential blood stem cell donor, ahead of World Blood Cancer Day (28 May), and go on standby to help save the life of someone like you.
James said: “I registered with DKMS after hearing Finn’s fight against blood cancer and desperate search to find his potential lifesaver. I wanted to try and help.
“To be identified as a potential match for someone and to go on and donate my blood stem cells to help save their life is such an exciting experience and one that I will never forget. What better gift can you give then the gift of life?”
James donated at the NHS Blood and Transplant Therapeutic Apheresis Services unit, based within the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, which has become the first unit in the country to provide collection services for donors from all three organisations operating in England, that form part of the UK’s aligned stem cell registry, including DKMS.
James donated his blood stem cells through a peripheral blood stem cell collection, which is used in 90% of all donations. This method is very similar to giving blood. It involves blood being taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine separates the blood stem cells from it. The donor’s blood is then returned to them through their other arm. This is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in 4-6 hours. The remaining 10% of donations are made through a bone marrow collection.
Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to provide a new location for stem cell collections with DKMS donors. Thanks to the generous acts of donors, like James, we are able to give people with blood cancers and disorders like Finn, who thankfully received a lifesaving transplant, a second chance at life.”
Catherine Howell, NHSBT Chief Nurse Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services, said: “For some patients, a stem cell transplant is the only hope of survival and if a family member is not a match, patients reply on the generosity of strangers. By working together with DKMS and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals we hope to increase the number of donors available to patients and save more lives.”
Dr David Hughes, Medical Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are delighted that we are now able to provide blood stem collections with DKMS donors. The stem cells will help to treat people with blood cancer and disorders both in the UK and across the world. We are very proud that we are able to provide this vital service.”
If you are aged between 17 – 55 and in general good health take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by registering for your home swab kit at dkms.org.uk.
You can help support the fight against blood cancer by making your mark this World Blood Cancer Day (28 May) and supporting the charity’s #WearItRed campaign – please visit dkms.org.uk/wbcd for further details.