Mark shares his experience donating blood stem cells via PBSC
I suppose just knowing I could help someone in need is what first inspired me to go onto the registry. I joined when I was giving blood at my local donor centre. The nurse who was taking my blood mentioned the bone marrow donation registry and asked if I would be interested in going onto it. I said of course I would.
I didn’t really tell too many people at first, but as they found out they became inquisitive and wanted to know all about it. They all thought it was a great thing to do and I have encouraged all of them to go onto the Strength to Give registry.
When I got the call that I was a potential match, I was excited that I had the chance to make a real difference to someone’s life. The lead up to the donation consisted of a very thorough screening process which included a visit to the collection centre where the donation took place for bloods and an examination from a doctor.
I was asked to make a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which required G-CSF (Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) injections for a few days before donating to help boost the number of stem cells circulating in my blood.
I found the injections fine. Thinking about doing it in the lead up to the first one was more difficult than actually doing it. If you just do it, it’s fine. It hardly hurt at all. I think most people would cringe at giving yourself an injection but it was no problem at all.
I was a little nervous on the day of donation, but the nurses put you at ease straight away and take absolute care of you. The worst part of the day was lying with your arms straight for the entire time but it really is a small price to pay when you think about the end goal.
I was really surprised by how much everyone involved in the process appreciates what you are doing. The nurses and doctors showed so much appreciation throughout the whole process. I suppose they see first-hand the positive results this has on the recipients every day. Also, the care that they give to you, you are made to feel like royalty!
I was fairly tired immediately after the donation, and probably a little lethargic for the two or three days after that, but otherwise fine.
To anyone else considering becoming a donor, I’d say DO IT!! Everyone is busy, but if you stop and think about the people that really need these donations you just make the time.
Imagine if it was your child, a family member or a friend, you wouldn’t hesitate. The small imposition into your own life makes a life changing impact on someone else. It’s an amazing feeling, you won’t regret it! Don’t think about it too much, you spend more time and energy thinking and worrying about it than what it’s worth.
I don’t regret a thing and would do it all again tomorrow if I was needed.