“Being a potential blood stem cell donor is a lesser known, but significant way to save somebody’s life"
When someone goes through something as devastating as cancer, it can be life-changing even for the people around them. Smita, a 23-year-old Pharmacology student from Bangalore, had the unfortunate experience of watching her mother battle breast cancer. Although her mother survived the disease, Smita was determined to do what she could, to help patients suffering from life-threatening diseases like cancer. She came across the DKMS-BMST’s posts on social media and registered herself as a potential blood stem cell donor.
She shares her experience, hoping to inspire more people to come forward and register to be potential blood stem cell donors.
"When I came across the initiative of blood stem cell donation, I was very intrigued to know that it can potentially give a patient fighting blood cancer or a blood disorder, a second chance at life. I registered with DKMS BMST Foundation India in January 2021, and only 9 months later, I got the rare opportunity to potentially save a blood cancer patient’s life.
It makes you feel good about yourself! However, initially, it was a little difficult to convince my family to support my decision. My mother, being a cancer survivor herself, was extremely worried about the side effects of the donation, but I didn’t let that stop me. I was committed to the idea of donating my blood stem cells to help a patient suffering from blood cancer."
I wasn’t anxious or concerned about going in for the donation because I had mentally prepared myself for it. In the days leading up to the donation, I took extra care of my health and made healthier choices in my diet. Finally, I donated my blood stem cells through the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell(PBSC) collection process. It was a simple process just like blood platelet donation. I did face some discomfort during the process, but I was cared for so deeply by the medical staff at the collection center along with DKMS-BMST coordinators, they truly provided me with a great environment.
After the donation, I experienced some weakness for a few days, which went away soon enough. The slight discomfort I felt was nothing compared to what these patients go through on a daily basis.
Message to others
I hope my journey can inspire some of you to come forward and register to be potential lifesavers. It’s an important cause that needs our immediate attention so that we can save more lives every day. I’m trying to spread awareness and educate the people around me through my social media accounts because I truly believe in the importance of the cause. I urge you to do your part and help these patients who are waiting to find a matching blood stem cell donor to survive.
After having been around a cancer patient, it made me realize that being a potential stem cell donor is a lesser-known, but significant way to save somebody’s life. I pray for the patient who received my blood stem cells and all patients who are fighting for their lives. They are nothing less than heroes themselves.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are calling on more people to take the first step and register for a home swab kit. If you’d like to register as a potential blood stem cell donor you can check your eligibility and sign up today. Anyone aged between 18-50 years and in general good health can go on standby as a potential lifesaver. If you're not eligible or you're already registered, check out some of the other ways to get involved in the fight against blood cancer.