July 12, 2015

Unknown unknowns


We have had numerous people comment and remark upon my recent blog post, ‘Don’t assume they already know‘.

It seems that the fact that even medical staff, including doctors and nurses, are unaware of the bone marrow / stem cell register has been received with a degree of surprise and even shock.

imageWhilst I myself wasn’t particularly surprised last week, there was a time when I recall being perplexed to learn that people working in the haematology and bone marrow transplant wards at Great Ormond Street Hospital told me that they didn’t know about the need for more people to join the stem cell register, nor how easy it was for them to register as potential stem cell donors, until Margot’s appeal.

I’m really not making that up.

That is the reality.

I remember being similarly bemused when the then United States Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, famously spoke about “known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns”.

It’s not the most natural of expressions and it’s somewhat quizzical, but it does makes sense, not least the key point he was making at the time: that “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

And that’s the problem we are facing. On a global scale.

It’s not as if people are aware of the issues and are seeking solutions. Were that the case, we would expect far greater numbers on the worldwide registries than the 25 million today. In context, that would be a high class problem !

Instead, it appears that the vast majority of the worlds population simply don’t know that there is a need for more people to join the stem cell registers, let alone that they themselves might be a part of the solution.

They don’t know what they don’t know. So they aren’t even aware of, let alone thinking about the “unknown unknowns”.

Hence Team Margot’s mission to honour Margot’s legacy by informing people of the need & how to become a potential donor, educate them as to what’s involved with donation and the differences between stem cell and bone marrow transplants and to campaign for more people to join the worldwide stem cell / bone marrow registries, especially people from ethnic minorities and those with a mixed heritage.

As ever, it’s easy when you already know the answer ! But for everyone else …

Thank you for helping to spread the word.

Team Margot
Together, saving lives

Husband to Vicki and father to Oscar (2007), Rufus (2008), Digby (2015) & Margot (2012-2014)

Posted in: Journal