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Stuart Freeman Donation Interview Thumnail

Donor Match Stuart Freeman tells us about his stem cell donation experience

Earlier this year we were thrilled to hear that one of our donor sign ups in 2017, Stuart Freeman, had been matched with a patient in need.  In July this year we were pleased to accompany Stuart on his visit to the London Clinic where he harvested his stem cells for the first time and was able to donate these cells to give his recipient a second chance at life.

We interviewed Stuart after his donation to give us some insight into his experience of being a stem cell donor and potential life saver.

How and why did you originally register as a potential blood stem cell/bone marrow donor?

I was with my brother at the Lilleshall 10k running event last year where Race Against Blood Cancer were holding a donor drive.  I knew of someone who had blood cancer but I knew nothing about the stem cell or bone marrow donors or how they are used to help blood cancer patients.   However, when I was shown how easy the sign up process was I went ahead and registered.

How did you find out you were a match for someone and how did you feel?

DKMS called to tell me I was a match for a patient in need – I obviously wanted to do it but like most people I did feel a little nervous as I hadn’t really researched the actual donation process beforehand, and didn’t know if there may be any long term side effects. Once I spent a bit of time researching the process I felt more at ease.  Knowing that I may have a few short term side effects didn’t bother me as I knew I could be saving a life.

Did you get to choose the method of donation? 

Yes I did – Initially they asked for bone marrow, which I was happy to donate but after reviewing the recipient’s needs the patient team were more than happy to take my stem cells instead.

How did DKMS prepare you for the donation (appointments/medical injections etc?)

I had a medical a few weeks before which I attended at the London Clinic and then 4 lots of 4 injections, four days before the actual donation.  The medical team also came out to me to do the injections – I was originally meant to be paintballing and so they were even prepared to come out to the venue, but it got cancelled so they came to me at home whilst I was watching the England World Cup game instead!

Where did you go to harvest your cells and how long did the process take?

I went to the London Clinic for my procedure – it took around 3hrs 50 minutes to collect the stem cells and I had to wait for around 30 minutes afterwards for them to check I had donated enough cells.  They needed 5 million but managed to collect 23 million in that short time.  I was told they would use what they needed and freeze the rest for anyone else who may need them.

Is it painful and did you experience any side effects?

I didn’t experience any pain as such; I just had the usual side effects that I’d prepared myself for, so I was slightly achy in the lower back and feeling a little groggy after the injections.  The medical team told me I would feel better after the stem cell collection and they were right.  The following day I was feeling 100% again!

Did you incur any costs?

DKMS covered my travel and hotel stay as I lived quite far from the clinic.  I was also given the opportunity to use an optional food and drink voucher but I used my own money.

How did you feel mentally and physically after the donation procedure was over?

I actually felt really good physically almost straight away; any side effects you have are not serious and are only short term.  I felt so positive that I had the opportunity to save a life and be able to raise awareness of being a donor and what the process involves – the worst part was being on camera!

How do you think we can encourage other people like you to register?

It’s really important to me to get across how easy it is to register and to donate.  Just a few hours of my time could have potentially saved a life and that makes me feel great.  For me it’s all about the awareness, if I can help inform people that life saving like this exists and show how simple the process is, then I know people would register in a heartbeat!

We would like to say a massive thank you to Stuart – the impact that he is going to have on his recipient life can’t be put into words. We would also like to thank you to DKMS, the medical team and the amazing staff on the day at The London Clinic.

Stuart and Alex Morison   Stuart Donation   Stuart Donating Stem Cells


Race Against Blood Cancer

Blood cancer sufferer Dennis loses his battle against acute myeloid leukaemia

It is with tremendous sadness that our partners DKMS announced the passing of Dennis; a loving husband, father and a courageous fighter of blood cancer.

Since his diagnosis in January, Dennis, his family and our partners fought incredibly hard against a resistant form of acute myeloid leukaemia but sadly the battle was lost last week as a blood stem cell match was not found for him in time.

All of us at Race Against Blood Cancer send our deepest condolences to Dennis’ family and friends as this difficult time – hearing news like this really does bring home the importance of the work we’re doing to try to increase the volume and diversity of the register so EVERY patient has an equal chance of finding a donor.

Dennis


Race Against Blood Cancer

Croud’s latest fundraising efforts sees them cycle from London to Amsterdam in under 36 hours!

Back in June we shared via our Facebook page that global digital marketing agency Croud were embarking upon a HUGE challenge to raise money for Race Against Blood Cancer.

On 15th – 17th June their team of eight cyclists raced from London to Amsterdam and reached the finish line within their target finish time of under 36 hours! Wow!

We are pleased to share that the team raised over £7,400 for the charity – So many lives will be effected in a positive way with these funds, which will be used to help us register more lifesaving blood stem cell and bone marrow donors.

We would like to say a massive thank you to the team for their time and dedication – we massively appreciate Croud’s ongoing support for Race Against Blood Cancer and their willingness to help such an important cause.

2nd Batch_Photo 7

If you would like to take part in a sporting event to help raise vital funds for our charity, then please get in touch with Emma – emma.brown@raceagainstbloodcancer.com


Insteps Academy Annual Show

Insteps Dance Academy and Fullout Dance Academy hold annual show

Over the weekend Insteps Dance Academy and Fullout Dance Academy, based in Ludlow and Leominster, hosted their annual dance show. They performed 4 shows over 2 days to over 600 people.

Once again, this year they chose Race Against Blood Cancer as their charitable partner and held a raffle to raise much needed funds. Not only was the weekend a great success for the academies but they also managed to raise £354 for our charity.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all those involved – these funds will help us to continue to raise awareness and register more potential lifesaving blood stem cell donors!

Insteps Dance Academy


Race Against Blood Cancer

Race Against Blood Cancer finds another donor match!!!

After all of the excitement over the England World Cup match yesterday, the team at Race Against Blood Cancer is even more excited to share our match news with you. One of our donor sign ups has been called to donate to a patient in need of a lifesaving transplant!

Meet Stuart Freeman, the guy who registered with us as a donor a few years ago and has now been called up to become a potential life saver. You can see from these photographs that the fantastic medical staff have been coming out to prepare him for his procedure – even whilst he was at work and sat watching the footy! 😄 ⚽️

2nd Batch_Photo 5A

Stuarts procedure will take place this Monday 9th July – watch out for live updates across our Facebook and Twitter channels to hear from the team and Stuart about his donation journey.

We wish Stuart the best of luck tomorrow and hope the process runs smoothly for him. We are also thinking about that special person who is about to receive this priceless gift – the impact Stuart will be having on this patients’ life is impossible to put into words! THANK YOU!

If you would like to become a real life superhero like Stuart, you can register here: www.raceagainstbloodcancer.com/join


Race Against Blood Cancer

Race Against Blood Cancer supports Flagz Mas Band

Last Sunday Race Against Blood Cancer held a donor drive supporting Flagz Mas Band at Wandsworth Arts Fringe in London, where the team worked hard to sign up more potential lifesaving donors to the blood stem cell register.

We would like to thank all those that showed up to register and to the organisers for allowing us to pitch up and engage with the community. We would also like to give a special thanks to the work of our team members Alex Morrison and Lenah Lang who continue to help those people needing lifesaving transplants.

RABC at Flagz Mas Band


Race Against Blood Cancer

The inspirational Joe Thompson

From a second blood cancer diagnosis to scoring the winning goal for Rochdale AFC – introducing the inspirational Joe Thompson

Fantastic interview where Joe Thompson discusses his winning goal for Rochdale AFC which saved his club from relegation. This was just a few months after returning to his club after a grueling period of treatment following his second blood cancer diagnosis.

Joe Thompson is a massive inspiration to many people currently battling with the disease and has now been nominated for a prestigious global award for his sporting efforts. You’ve definitely got our vote Joe! 😊

http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2018-05-08/rochdale-hero-helped-save-his-club-from-relegation-after-cancer-battle


Race Against Blood Cancer

Introducing our Community Engagement Officer Gemma Elsmore

Gemma, who’s been supporting Race Against Blood Cancer for a little over a year took some time out of her busy schedule to be interviewed by Emma Brown, our Social Media manager about how she first came in contact with the charity

“I first became a volunteer for Race Against Blood Cancer in March 2017, after learning that a friend’s son was in need of a blood stem cell transplant. This emotionally touched my heart and I wanted to offer my support in a way that I could try and really make a difference. I held my first donor drive in aid of the Match4Khaleel campaign, which was a huge success. We were able to sign up 57 potential donors to the stem cell register within 2 hours. This inspired me to want to help others who are in a similar position to Khaleel.

In May 2017 a job was advertised for a Community Engagement Officer in the West Midlands and I knew that this was something that I would love to do, so I applied for the position. I was delighted when I was offered the job at Race Against Blood Cancer because this meant that I could put my all into raising awareness of blood cancer and signing people up.

Over the past 10 months myself and my team of volunteers have signed up over 660 potential blood stem cell donors. I would really love for us to reach a target of 1000 by the end of August 2018 and to continue to encourage people from all different ethnic backgrounds to sign up because you never know when it could affect somebody you love.”

Gemma Elsmore – Community Engagement Officer.

Gemma Elsmore - Community Engagement Officer at Race Against Blood Cancer
Gemma Elsmore – Community Engagement Officer at Race Against Blood Cancer

Race Against Blood Cancer

Many potential lifesaving donors signed up at Google offices

Nearly 200 potential lifesaving donors signed up in just two donor drives at Google offices

Last week the Race Against Blood Cancer team popped into the Google offices in London to do another donor drive. After last year’s visit where we signed up over 100 donors, we were kindly invited back to capture any employees who may have been away. It was snowing and cold outside but the feeling inside was far from it as we managed to sign up an additional 65 potential lifesaving donors!

A massive thank you to Sam Smith who organised the event and all of those at Google who took the time to register. We would also like to show our appreciation to our community engagement manager Alex Morrison and volunteer Alex Kiffin who once again were on hand to sign up willing participants!

Alex and some new volunteer donors at Google
Alex Kiffin and some new volunteer donors at Google

Race Against Blood Cancer

Race Against Blood Cancer returns to the popular Shropshire Kids Festival

Last Saturday the Race Against Blood Cancer team hosted another donor drive at the popular event Shropshire Kids Festival 2018 at the Telford International Centre.

The event was full of busy families getting involved in all of the activities on offer, and the team still managed to sign up an impressive 57 blood stem cell donors amongst the madness! We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited the stand and took an interest in the charity, and a special thanks to those who registered!

New volunteers signing up as a stem cell donor
New volunteers signing up as a stem cell donors at the festival in Shropshire

We’d also like to show our appreciation to the organisers Shropshire Festivals and our amazing team Gemma Elsmore, Sarah Elsmore, Beth Elsmore and Jodie Thompson for spending all day on their feet, encouraging the crowd and signing up new potential donors who could help save the life of someone with blood cancer!

If you would like help with organising a donor drive in your place of work, please contact our community engagement team:

Gemma.elsmore@raceagainstbloodcancer.com Alex.morrison@raceagainstbloodcancer.com


What can I do to help? You can help save a life in 1 of 4 ways - find out more
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Donor register
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Get involved
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Donate funds
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Raise awareness
Help us show how big the problem is & how easy the solution