Charitable foundation finds kind donors for 2,000 vital stem cell transplants

Stem cell charity DKMS celebrates a milestone in finding its 2000th UK donor.

Amy Pringle, 28, was on the registry and approached a patient who was in desperate need of a life-saving transplant.

Her blood was taken from one arm, the stem cells were filtered, and the blood was returned to the other arm.

Only one in three transplant patients finds a mate in their family, and the rest rely on the kindness of strangers.

Amy, a Glasgow teacher, said it was “a unique experience to potentially save a stranger’s life.”

She discovered the stem cell registry after discovering she was unable to donate blood due to past blood transfusions.

She said: “I was thrilled when I found out that I was a match for someone and I feel very lucky that I can potentially help save someone’s life.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you can help a stranger get another chance, however I’ve also thought a lot about what this patient might be going through, so it’s definitely emotional.”

Amy underwent a medical examination, including blood and heart tests. She then self-injected herself with growth factor injections to increase her white blood cells and release the stem cells into her bloodstream, ready to be harvested.

Amy said: “The actual donation was very simple, I donated blood using the peripheral blood method, which involved donating blood from one arm and receiving it back into the other after the cells were separated.

“I felt no pain or side effects throughout the entire process. I would definitely do it again.

“As a healthy donor, we only have to spend a few hours of our time to give someone else another chance at life, it’s really incredible how little that can take from a donor’s point of view.

“It’s a learning experience that can make a huge difference. The more people on the roster, the higher the chances of a match, so I really encourage anyone who can, to sign up!”

DKMS UK has registered nearly a million potential donors since its inception in 2013.

The charity also operates in Germany, the US, Poland, India, Chile and South Africa, with 11 million registered donors worldwide.

People aged 17 to 55 and in generally good health can sign up for a home swab kit here.

Your swabs can then be returned to DKMS along with a prepaid envelope to ensure your details are added to the DKMS stem cell registry.

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