|Please tell me what a stem cell is!?
You’ve probably heard about stem cells before. But what are they? And why are they so important?
Stem cells are little powerhouses helping your body to grow, develop and recover every single day. Stem cells are your body’s “master cells” cleverly shape-shifting into any of the cells the body needs.
They are quite literally the building blocks of your body.
A blood stem cell can shape-shift into red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets which are essential for keeping us healthy.
|How can my stem cells help save a life?
Blood stem cells donated from healthy people can be given to blood cancer patients to give them a new immune system – saving lives.
Giving blood stem cells is similar to donating blood, your body quickly replaces the cells that you have donated.
You could be The One to help save a life.
|Why does my ethnicity matter?
The body is a natural fighter, the immune system protecting us from “foreign material” like bacteria and viruses every day.
This means that donated blood stem cells (from another person i.e. “foreign material”) are at risk of being rejected by a patient’s body.
To minimise these complications, donated stem cells need to be as close a match to the patient as possible. A big big part of this criteria is ethnic background. There is a far greater chance of getting a match and the body accepting donated stem cells from someone with the same ethnic background.
At the moment, the list of potential donors registered is not ethnically diverse enough, 87% are white.
The chances of finding a match become even more difficult if the person in need is mixed-race.
We campaign for Diversifying the Stem Cell register because Margot needed stem cells from a unique mixed background: Syrian, Armenian, Scottish, Thai, English and New Zealand.
This is why it’s so important to represent your unique heritage on the donor register. You could be The One to save the life of someone like you.
|What is the donor register?
The blood stem cell donor register is a list of people who have put themselves forward to donate their blood stem cells if someone needs them.
Most people actually don’t get the call.
|I’m not mixed/multi-race?
Wait wait wait! The register needs diversifying as a whole. There’s not enough men, not enough people of colour in general, not enough people from minority communities. There aren’t enough people in general.
The donor register is a bit like a lottery – you’ve got to be in it to win it.
The greatest need is to diversify the register and balance out the representation of different ethnic backgrounds.
DKMS, our registration partner, is the largest international donor centre dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.
If you live outside the countries listed on DKMS, please drop us an email with “I want to diversify the donor register” in the subject line.
Diversity matters at every level of the conversation.
Diversity on the stem cell register has a direct link to saving lives.
While you’re learning more about stem cells, show others what you learn to spread the word. Repost from our Instagram and tag us on your journey #diversifytheregister @teammargot
The umbilical cord is jam-packed full of stem cells as these “master cells” are literally the building blocks of new life. Learn more and consider donating yours – find out more here.
Thank you so much for your time today,
Team Margot x