I couldn’t help myself.
We were in the operating theatre in Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on Friday morning, where our newest family member, Digby was delivered by c-section.
Digby had been safely delivered, checked, weighed and cleaned up, cord blood & cord tissue collected for storage and I was proudly cradling my fourth child as Vicki was being sewn up.
There were six hospital staff in the operating theatre at the time, comprising doctors, nurses and support team. All was well and we had thanked them all as they were busy with post op clean up.
I had to ask.
“May I just do a ‘pop quiz’ with all of you please?” Everyone paused what they were doing and turned to look at me.
“How many of you are on the stem cell register ?”
Followed by a few blinks and quizzical looks.
“OK – how many of you know what the stem cell register is ?” I asked, trying to provide a bit more colour.
In turn, each of them shook their heads. No – their actions confirmed that not one of them knew about the stem cell register.
At this stage, no one had actually said a word.
“It’s also called the bone marrow register”, said Vicki, who was still lying on the operating table, unable to see anything other than the ceiling and yet she clearly understood that nobody had a clue what I was talking about.
“Oh, I think I’ve heard of the bone marrow register” said the anaesthetist.
I accept that it’s anecdotal and hardly a comprehensive poll, but this does serve to illustrate how poor the awareness around what the stem cell / bone marrow register is and the importance of the need for more potential donors.
I handed the two Team Margot wristbands I was wearing to two of the team and asked them to take a look at teammargot.com when they have a moment.
This experience simply underscores the importance of what we are currently planning with NHSBT (National Health Service Blood & Transplant): donor recruitment sessions in hospitals, for hospital employees to sign up to become potential blood, stem cell and organ donors.
And also the importance of NOT assuming that, just because someone is working in a hospital / in medicine, that they will be aware of the stem cell register, let alone the urgent need for more people to join as potential stem cell donors.
Together, saving lives
Husband to Vicki and father to Oscar (2007), Rufus (2008), Digby (2015), Humphrey (2017) & Margot (2012-2014)
Team Margot’s mission
To help save and improve lives by educating, inspiring and motivating people, especially from ethnically diverse communities, to register as blood, organ, stem cell and bone marrow donors and to provide a range of support to families caring for child cancer patients.
Team Margot also provides secretariat support to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethnicity Transplantation and Transfusion.