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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

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

5-year-old Kaiya Petal in urgent need of a lifesaving stem cell match

Kaiya Petal, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia earlier this year, is desperately trying to find a blood stem cell match outside of the family to give her the best chance of survival.

The family of Kaiya are appealing to members of the Asian community across the Warwick district to get tested to see if they could be a match for their 5-year-old daughter.

Kaiya’s aunt said “All focus is on getting that match not just for Kaiya but for so many other people who might need it in the future. The campaign has gotten so big and we are so incredibly grateful to have the support.”

If you live in the area there is a donor drive being held in Leamington which will take place on Sunday 10th June at the Community Centre at Shree Krishna Mandir at 10B High Street, Leamington from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Don’t forget if you can’t make any donor drives but would like to join the register to help blood cancer patients like Kaiya, you can check your eligibility and register online for a home swab kit. See our website for more details www.raceagainstbloodcancer.com/join

www.leamingtoncourier.co.uk/news/stem-cell-donor-drive-being-held-in-leamington-in-hopes-of-helping-five-year-old-kaiya-1-8526582


Race Against Blood Cancer

Transplant recipient makes ‘Trip Of A Lifetime’ to meet donor who saved her life

This inspirational article explains how difficult it was for a British woman to find a stem cell match after being diagnosed with AML back in 2012. Luckily a young man from Germany turned out to be a match and kindly donated his stem cells.

Read on to find out how she took a “trip of a lifetime” to meet the donor who saved her life.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/transplant-recipient-ashling-connell-makes-trip-of-a-lifetime-to-meet-german-donor-who-saved-her-life_uk_5a675e51e4b0dc592a0cfe89

Blood cancer survivor and her donor


Tile TCAT

Setting a new record of registrations at TCAT

The Race Against Blood Cancer team returned to Shropshire on Friday 22nd January for a donor drive at Telford College of Arts & Technology (TCAT).

While still early in the morning, the team was full of optimism and determined to beat the previous record held by PHD Media of 131 donor registrations achieved in one drive.

The day kicked off to a great start in the TCAT’s dance studio where the team was stationed, with a constant flow of visitors keen to sign up as stem cell donors. Queues even went up to 30 minutes at one point despite having 12 volunteers in full pace registering the participants and walking them through the process.

But the overall enthusiasm remained really high. Having been chosen as one of the college’s official charities for 2016, the team were particularly encouraged by how welcome they were made to feel by staff, students and a very special guest – Paralympic Gold medalist Mickey Bushell.

Once a TCAT student himself, Mickey dropped in to show his support in the charity’s fight against blood cancer – “I was happy to be invited over today and see the charity’s great work.  I encourage everyone to join the Race Against Blood Cancer. It’s such a great cause and a simple process which can lead to you saving someone’s life.”

And after an amazing day and 5 hours of frantic swabbing, the team managed to break the record, registering 147 new stem cell and bone marrow donor registrations in one drive.

We would like to thank the amazing team of volunteers – Joe Bates, Emma Brown, Natasha Brown, Gail Fisk, Connor Holbrook, Bethan Brown, Jason Cook, Ben Westwood, Carol Goodfellow, Sarah Drummond and Devon Peart – and everyone who came down to support and sign up on the day. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.

And finally, a special thanks to Lauren Harris the Enrichment Coordinator at TCAT who helped organise the event in the first place and eagerly supported the team throughout the day. We hope to be invited back again next year!

Gold Medalist Mickey Bushal at the TCAT Donor Drive

An amazing flow of interest and registrations throughout the day

A volunteer to help save lives

Stem Cell Registration Process

Race Against Blood Cancer Team in Shropshire

Emma & Bethan

Wristbands don't save lives. Signing up as a donor does.


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