More stem cell donors needed in Salisbury

DKMS Blood Cancer Donor

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:39am 17th August 2018. (Updated at 12:04pm 17th August 2018)

Charity DKMS is calling on people here to register as a potential donor, as we're falling behind compared to the rest of the South West.

Blood stem cell donors are potential life-savers, as someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every 20 minutes.

New figures have been released for the SP postcode area showing how many people are registered at the moment - here's the breakdown:

  • 1,657 people signed up
  • That's just 6.1% of all the DKMS donors across the South West
  • 1,347 of them are aged 31 and over
  • Only 310 of them uder the age of 30
  • The South West is home to only 6.4% of all the UK's donors

The charity is now calling on more of us to sign up, ahead of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

Blood cancers are now the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

DKMS Blood Cancer Donor
More people in the SP postcode area are being called upon to become blood stem cell donors

For many, there's sadly no single cure, but a blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can mean there's a treatment option and could help give someone in need of a transplant a second chance at life.

Only one in three people with a blood cancer (and in need of a transplant) will find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family.

Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS says:

"For a few minutes of your time now to sign up, you could save someone's life in the future. If you're living in Salisbury and between 17 and 55 and in general good health, there's no excuse not to, as it could make all the difference to someone in need of a donation."

DKMS Blood Cancer Donor
Just a cheek swab is enough to get yourself put onto the donor register

CASE STUDY:

One man desperately in need of a blood stem cell transplant is 32-year-old father of two, Vaughn Scott.

Until recently Vaughn was incredibly fit, playing all kinds of sports and serving in the Royal Navy.

He was on deployment when he was urgently flown back to the UK and diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

This type of cancer is incredibly rare and attacks white blood cells, aggressively affecting the body and requiring immediate treatment. He said:

"My diagnosis was crushing, the first thing I thought of was my family. My children don't deserve to grow up without a father. My partner has been amazingly supportive and she helps to keep me positive. There's a lot of uncertainty as at the moment my life depends on the goodness and bravery of a complete stranger. I'm calling out on the people of the South West to please register with DKMS, you could be my only hope and anyone else's in need of a matching donor."

HOW TO REGISTER:

It's simple to get involved as a blood stem cell - you order a home swab kit from the DKMS website.

Swab the inside of your cheeks and send everything back in a pre-paid envelope in order for your details to be added to the registry.

You're then on standby as a potential lifesaver.

If you are called upon, there are two donation methods - around 90% are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC).

In this method, blood is taken from one of the donor's arms and a machine extracts the blood stem cells from it. The donor's blood is then returned to them through their other arm, with the whole process completed in just 4-6 hours.

In just 10% of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection. Bone marrow is not extracted from the spine, but taken from the pelvic bone.

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