March 11, 2015

KKD1: The DIY swab kit


Katrina Krishnan Doyle, Team Margot bone marrow donor

This is the first in a series of blog posts written by Katrina Krishnan Doyle (KKD) which charts her journey from initial awareness & action through to actual bone marrow donation and beyond.

This one made me blush.


I remember getting a Google Plus notification from Yaser Martini in late 2013 asking me to watch a video.

Now the thing you have to realise is that, I was a sceptic of Google Plus but not of Yaser. He gave me his old iPhone handset to play with, certain that my work would be made easier as a result, I was still sceptical. I’m now a total convert. The man’s a genius. I love how he sees how things can develop and become something amazing. And I love the fact that he’s so open and willing to try new things and brave the unknown and untested. He knows how to believe things into being, which is rare in people these days.

At that time in 2013, I was completing a role as Head of Strategy in the Government Property Unit in Cabinet Office, advising Local Partnerships (the Local Government Association & HM Treasury company) and I was launching two social enterprises to help people re-find their purpose and confidence in a professional environment. Diaries were tight but I always have time for Yaser. My point is, I set it aside time to look at his Google Plus film later in the week.

When I did watch his first swab test video I was taken aback with how tired he looked but I also had trouble accepting the fact that it was his own daughter, Margot, who he was campaigning for. It wasn’t devastation or anger that I felt – it was total disbelief.

I’d met Vicki, Margot’s mum, and Margot’s brothers, Oscar and Rufus, a number of times. I remember meetings with Yaser at his old flat in Pimlico while Rufus was taking a bottle in the baby chair. They’re a beautiful family in so many ways. And they’ve been hugely supportive to me over the years, both professionally and personally. I hadn’t met Margot but had enjoyed the pictures of her birth and early, trouble-free months of life.

I’m ashamed to say, I never met Margot. I wish I’d made more of an effort to get involved in the campaign but I didn’t. Although, I’m happy that my first response was to order a swab kit.

My own, personal life journey had meant that I have not been allowed to donate blood until recently. I was underwhelmed with the process of registering. I’d always wanted to give blood, or more, and the swab kit was completely underwhelming! It’s tantamount to licking two stamps on an envelope instead of one. Seriously, why is this such a hard process of people to get on board with?

I did it, bought some ‘Swab for Margot’ wrist bands online, and started talking about donating stem cells. I was shocked by the range of negative, fearful and naïve responses I received. But more about that in my next blog, when I’ll tell you about facing my problems with having needles near my arms – which is not so much about fear, as involuntary narcolepsy!

Team Margot Ambassador & Donor


Margot’s appeal video, published Christmas 2013


Margot’s early days – late 2012, a year before diagnosis


Husband to Vicki and father to Oscar (2007), Rufus (2008), Digby (2015), Humphrey (2017) & Margot (2012-2014)

Posted in: Journal