Two months ago I read an article about a young mum with blood cancer. I try not to read or watch anything that has a negative impact on my well-being, this may be selfish, I don't shut the world away but some stories seem to act as a trigger, they play on my mind and I find myself worrying about what I would do if I were in that same situation or how I would feel if it was someone I loved.
The problem is that it is happening to someone I love. A beautiful friend of mine has lymphoma; she is a mum to four amazing kids, the youngest of which is 5. Thankfully she has been given a very positive diagnosis and I have every confidence in her strength and ability to beat it, but it she has a long road ahead and I wish I could help her. As a friend, when you are told news like that you want to do something, I can hardly bring myself to imagine how it is impacting on her family. Instinctively I bought cake but she needed more.
At the bottom of the article I read was a link to Delete Blood Cancer and I realized I could do something. By putting myself on the database to donate my blood stem cells I might not be directly helping my friend but I could be helping someone else with blood cancer.
Blood Cancer - The Facts
• Every 20 minutes a blood cancer diagnoses is made, it could be leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma.
• Only 33% of people who need a blood stem cell donation will be able to find a match in their family. That leaves 67% reliant of the kindness of strangers
• There are 6,358,804 registered donors worldwide and 184,260 of them are in the UK.
• Only 56,511 donations have actually taken place, this means that there are many unmatched people out there and more donations are needed.
• To go on the database all you need to do is take a swab of the inside of your cheek. The organisation, Delete Blood Cancer will send you the kit and once complete, you send back to them of charge.
Swab Kit Ordered - now what?
After hearing this information and discovering how easy it was to go on the database I ordered my swab kit. Less than a week later it arrived. It all looked simple and easy to understand and would clearly take me no more than 5 minutes to complete.
But at that moment in time I didn't have 5 minutes, I was busy doing something (don't ask me what I have no idea). I made a promise to myself to do it later that day, I proceeded put it out of the kid's reach, which incidentally meant it was also out of my eye line.
I carried on with my day, my week, my month. I forgot about it.
Occasionally I would spot it, usually when I was looking for something else, I would tell myself to do it later and predictably I would forget about it again.
How much time do you have?
It suddenly dawned on me, I had kept making excuses that I didn't have enough time, but time is the one thing I do have. Those who are battling with cancer are fighting for time that my donation could give them! My match could be out there somewhere, waiting and praying for me to donate. They didn't have the luxury to forget about it like I had done!
So today, I got out the kit, swabbed the inside of each cheek for 60 seconds and packed my DNA in a little envelope. It is now in transit with the Royal Mail to the Delete Blood Cancer headquarters in London.
I may never get a call asking for my services but if I do I will have a chance to save a life! This will most likely involve a process where blood is taken from one arm and filtered through a machine that removes the stem cells. The blood is then replaced in my body via my other arm. In some cases a lumber puncture is required but this is rare.
Regardless of the process a small amount of my time and a few of my little stem cells could make the difference between life and death to someone out there. It could be a 60 year old in America or my beautiful friend 3 miles away, either way I have realized I can help.
If you want to save a life, register for a Delete Blood Cancer swab kit here. https://www.dkms.org.uk/en
To read more from Lisa at the Contented Family read her blog here. http://www.thecontentedfamily.co.uk/