It has been proven that human beings are physically attracted to people with a different HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen – which is more commonly referred to as ’tissue type’).
Biologically, this makes sense; people with different HLA will produce offspring with a more diverse immune system, which in turn means an improved ability to combat a broader range of diseases & better rates of survival for the human species.
This also explains why the number of people of mixed race is growing through the generations and why it is increasingly difficult to find perfect matches for those with a mixed heritage – the HLA combinations become increasingly complex.
Two years ago, I spent Valentine’s Day with my daughter, Margot in isolation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a week before her scheduled bone transplant. Margaret was fortunate to have found a “suitable” donor match and whilst it was ultimately unsuccessful, the bone marrow transplant gave our family more time with Margot and more time for Margot with her loved ones.
14 February 2014 was a key day in terms of Margot’s treatment – this was when the pre-bone marrow transplant conditioning began in earnest and when the really heavy duty drugs were administered, to destroy as much of the existing bone marrow as possible and to make way for the new bone marrow, as supplied by the donor. Once these drugs are administered, there is no going back and the patient needs to be rescued (i.e. with a bone marrow transplant).
So today, as we think about matches of a romantic kind, please spare a thought for those who are needing a HLA match in order to survive.
And if you haven’t already, please register as a potential bone marrow donor and / or encourage Just One More to do the same by sharing this blog post.
Thank you & happy Valentine’s Day.
Together, saving lives
Your benevolence not your money – this was a key point for us when we launched Margot’s appeal. We wanted to be clear about what we were asking people to do and didn’t want to confuse the message: we want more potential stem cell donors to join the registry. It doesn’t need to cost you any money – Delete Blood Cancer UK give new recruits the option of paying towards the cost of their registration and there is no cost to you to join the register via Anthony Nolan. Wonderful. And if you happen to give blood, you can also join the registry that way and again, needn’t part with any money at all.
You can donate money, if you wish – most charities ask for financial donations. Team Margot is of course happy for people to donate money to our charity but our primary request is for benevolence. We simply ask that people give up a few minutes to understand what’s involved and register. And then encourage Just One More person to do the same.
Quick, easy & painless – it only takes a few minutes to register online and once your DIY kit arrives by post, a similar amount of time to provide a cheek swab or spit sample.
Only seconds longer for blood donors – if you’re a regular blood donor, it literally only takes a few extra seconds to donate a little extra blood & you can join the register that way.
Registering is a ‘one off’ event – once you’re on the register, you won’t need to do it again.
Commitment – it’s crucial for anyone joining the stem cell register to understand what they are committing to do, if they are subsequently notified that they’re a match. For more information, please visit: http://www.teammargot.com/how-to-register/
You might never actually donate – on average, there’s 1 in 1,200 chance that you will be asked to actually donate your stem cells.
You can save a life – Should you be asked to actually donate your stem cells or bone marrow, then you can save a life. It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to give another human being such a precious gift.
You’re an anonymous hero – the donor process is anonymous for at least two years post transplant. And for as long as you wish, should you decide. Nevertheless, you’re a hero to the recipient, their family and friends. And to yourself.
The gift of hope & love – We know from Margot’s own experience that there are no guarantees, but at the very least, your gift of stem cells / bone marrow will provide hope to someone in need and afford them extended time with their family and loved ones. A precious gift.
Quick recovery – Your stem cells quickly replenish themselves, usually within a couple of weeks. For you, it’s a short term commitment, but your selfless donation creates a life-long legacy for someone in need and for their family & friends.
You can save a life.
Or at least gift someone more time with their family & loved ones.
WHAT’S INVOLVED WITH A STEM CELL OR BONE MARROW DONATION:
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STEM CELL TRANSPLANT & A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT:
HOW TO REGISTER:
BECOME A BLOOD DONOR: http://www.blood.co.uk
REGISTER AS AN ORGAN DONOR: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk
and to read a blog by Pamela Bousejean, a successful transplant patient, please click here.