“Just go for it!”, says Ewelina Szaja, a Farsley resident who is urging others to follow her lead in donating stem cells after life-saving registrations fell by 60% compared to last year.
Sadly, Leeds follows a national trend, with just over a third (37%) of the number of people in the UK registering in the first three months of this year compared to last spring.
There is now an urgent need for people to help meet the demand for donations and reverse the decline in registrations.
Ewelina Szaja, 28, originally from Poland, had signed up seven years previously when at university in her home country.
DKMS contacted her mother, who still lives in Poland, when she was found to be a potential match and the wheels were then put in motion with further blood tests to check she was the right person to donate her stem cells to someone in need.
After the excitement of finding she was someone’s lifesaving match, the date for her donation was postponed several times because the world was in the grips of COVID. Now living in Farsley, Ewelina said:
“I joined the stem cell register with the hopes of saving someone’s life, but I never expected to actually be called upon!
“I was so delighted that I got the chance to make such a positive impact on someone else’s life. I was surprised at how simple and painless the donation process was. I got a few hours to myself to read, binge watch my favourite shows and be taken care of by the amazing nurses at the hospital.”
A stem cell transplant can be the last hope of survival for patients and despite the hope of a return to normalcy, a big push is needed in 2022 to help give those with blood cancer the best chance.
A blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can offer a second chance at life for those in need.
Reshna Radiven, Head of Communications and Engagement, DKMS UK, said:
“This is deeply worrying. With only one in four people finding a match within their family, thousands of blood cancer patients rely on the kindness of a stranger.
“We urgently need more people to come forward and register, because the more people we have on the blood stem cell register, the more chance there is of our patients finding that perfect match. By signing up, you could be giving someone a second chance at life.”
DKMS is urging people in Leeds to register as blood stem cell donors to help give a second chance at life for someone with blood cancer.
People are urged to register their interest in donating here.