12 February 2020

For 26-year-old Harsh, it was one of the most incredible moment of his life when he got the call that he was found to be a match for someone and that he can actually save someone’s life. Harsh registered with us in July 2019 and just five months later he donated his blood stem cells to a complete stranger through a peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC).

First step towards saving a life

While sharing about his experience, Harsh said “when he attended the orientation by DKMS-BMST he was unaware about the concept and was totally moved to know that his small effort can help brighten someone’s whole life and give them a second chance at life, and thus, without having second thoughts he registered as a potential blood stem cell donor”.

A phone call from DKMS-BMST made all the difference

I received a phone call from DKMS-BMST only after five months, when I was told that I had been identified as a possible match for someone with blood cancer and I was asked whether I’d still be interested in donating my blood stem cells. It was all really fast and a bit like a whirlwind. I was aware that I could have been on the registry for years before being identified as a match for someone (if at all), but for me it felt like minutes. I was delighted I could potentially help save someone. On the call DKMS-BMST explained what the next steps would be and gave me more information on the peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC) method. All the communication given to me were very informative. All I could think was wow, this is really good. I had mixed feeling about the procedure but all were clarified by DKMS-BMST. I said yes straight away to being a potential lifesaver and knowing that I could help give this stranger a second chance at life was an incredible feeling.

The Donation day

To get ready for the donation I was given G-CSF injections to help encourage more stem cells to be produced. It had no side effects on me, I just had mild back ache. On the day of donation, I arrived at the collection centre and I was connected to the apheresis machine – a machine that filters out stem cells from my blood and returning the rest of the blood back to me. I was expecting the process to be little painful. However, to my surprise the entire procedure went smooth. I sat for 4 hours and to pass my time I interacted with the staffs or scrolled social media. The staff were all amazing. My blood stem cells were collected and sent to the recipient, a 39-year-old lady who needed the stem cell transplant. I am hoping she would be cured and get back to her normal life soon.

A word to other potential lifesavers

I would appeal to everyone who is not registered as a potential blood stem cell donor yet, please come forward and do it. Cheek swabbing is just a few moments out of your life to potentially help save someone else and it’s just awesome. The feeling that you can give someone a second chance at life is beyond imagination. The entire procedure is safe and secure. DKMS-BMST will be more concerned about your health than you yourself. So, if you come up as a match for someone, educate yourself, clarify your doubts, save a life and feel proud.