Could you change a life?

And now for something a little different….

 

Yesterday my friend called, would I be willing to use my blog to highlight a cause and put out an appeal?
“Why of course” I said.
So I introduce you to Karli who will take over for now….

 

Have you ever met somebody who has changed your life?
What if you could change someone’s life without even meeting them?
Recently an old friend from school got in touch with me via Facebook.
I say a friend, he was a boy I went to school with from the age of 11, I think it’s fair to say that we were pretty much invisible to each other. I knew him, he knew me, we lived in the same town but had different friendship circles and in the 18 years (feeling old) since leaving school our paths had never crossed.

He contacted me after chatting to my best friend who said “Karli is always out and about, if you are looking for someone to get out walking with send her a message…”
He did.
As a single mum of two gorgeous monsters I value my friendships with my whole heart. I have lots of great friends. I mean AMAZING friends.
Friends who say “you don’t need any more friends Karli, you have loads”.
Friends who pick me up and kick me up the butt when its needed. Friends who take my endless chit chat calls just so I can hear their voices. Friends who I rarely see, but when I do see we fall straight back into place and friends who allow me to camp out in their houses whilst my kids are off with their dad. The best types of friends!
I also believe you can NEVER have too many good friends. So when Rob contacted me I was happy to make a ‘new’ friend.

I loved hearing about his life and where he was now. I met him with my monsters in tow and he brought his pooch along too. He was very different to the boy I went to school with.
Firstly, he was now a man. A great man in fact!
Secondly, he had had quite the journey and was, at this time, recovering from a Cancer of the blood and a stem cell transplant.
He was RIGHT at the beginning of his second chance at life and he was embracing it with both hands!
New job, new lady, new dreams. Perfect.  He quickly became a valued friend to me.

I come from a family who have been heavily hit by Cancers. I have lost too many loved ones to it. I would have given a limb to give any of them a fighting chance to live, but that wasn’t how those Cancers were cured. It was never an option to do this.

Rob’s Cancer is, like many Cancers, brutal and aggressive, but there IS a way to fight it.
It doesn’t come with a 100% success rate, but it DOES give the host (Rob) a good chance of recovery. You see, because it is a blood Cancer, you don’t need to donate a limb, or an organ.
It is so much simpler than that, a donor simply needs to be registered and matched (you may register and NEVER be asked to donate).
If a donor is a match, stem cells are taken from the bloodstream in a really straightforward process using a needle. Science does the rest. It is all very straight forward for the donor and no more intrusive than giving blood.
It is the host who has to battle, a battle which carries with it the risk of fatality BUT is the ONLY option for a host who wants a chance to live.
Rob’s stem cell donor had saved his life, and I know he is eternally grateful for this.

In July 2016 the NHS announced that it was no longer routinely funding second stem cell transplants for blood Cancer, or blood disorder patients. For anyone who has received a stem cell transplant this was devastating
news. It meant a relapse wasn’t an option.

On 25th of February 2017, I met Rob and his beautiful lady for a coffee. He had just received an email from the Anthony Nolan charity confirming they had fought the decision and the NHS had now reversed their decision to give second transplants to patients who are eligible. Fantastic news.

On the 9th of March 2017 Rob received the news that his Cancer has returned.
I, like Rob; and everyone who loves him, was devastated. He has been well for 3 years.
BUT Rob has a plan!

Today, less than a week on from his new diagnosis, he is waiting for a bed to begin his second round of treatment and have his second transplant. His donor has come to the rescue again, and everything is in place.
Nothing is straightforward and there are no guarantees, but with the mix of science (and fate) he has the best chance of beating this again. I have always valued life but never more so my own, as I have since I’ve met Rob.

Rob has changed my life.
His journey has changed my life.
His friendship has changed my life.
But so has his donor.
Without his donor I would never have met my ‘new’ old friend again, because without his donor he would not have had a second chance and now a third.

Now for my heartfelt plea to YOU.
Register!
I did not know that I could register to be a stem cell donor.
I did not know there were different registers for different age groups.
I did not know that by registering and sending a swab in from my cheek I could potentially give a second chance of life to a blood cancer patient.
Please do not wait for a blood cancer to affect
someone you love before you register.
If you got this far into this post….winner…you might as well take 5 minutes more to
register…

If you’re aged between 18-55 you can register with DKMS
I
f you’re aged between 16-30 you can register with Anthony Nolan

Sincere Thanks
Karli

 

Until Karli spoke to me about Rob a few months back I hadn’t even considered stem cell donation,  I’d made sure years ago that my children and I were registered as organ donors so why wouldn’t I register as a stem cell donor too?
It literally to minutes to fill out the form, they sent a swab with instructions, I posted it back and BANG ready to save a life if required. Like a superhero.

Many people on the register aren’t called upon and for 90% of those who are it will be a straightforward procedure like giving blood. For 10% it WOULD be a small op to collect bone marrow. (Tell the kids the scar is from fighting ninjas, totally cool).
Anthony Nolan also advises that there is a shortage of male donors (who produce way more stem cells that women, so c’mon fellas, share!) and a lack of black, Asian and Minority Ethnic potential donors so spread the word!

Do something remarkable.

Obviously there are some people who can’t register for various health reasons, these people are no less remarkable.


Mummuddlingthrough

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

Mummy Times Two

23 thoughts on “Could you change a life?

  1. Such a remarkable story – Rob sounds like a bit of a ledge and I wish him every success with his recovery.

    I joined the Anthony Nolan register years ago, but this post has spurred me into thinking I might check into my sample still being valid – I’ve pinned and shared and applaud your appeal.

    Thanks so much for sharing this important message with #coolmumclub – it’s real life stories like these which really give them the impact needed for people to act.

    1. Ah thanks for giving us a platform to share. It’s so easy to think we’ll sort it later, then life/children/work get on top of us and we forget. The simplest task that could change a life. Karli let me know that Rob was admitted today to get ready for chemo. Everything crossed. Thanks so much for reading and sharing x

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post to make people aware. My Mum has Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and stem cells can be used in certain treatments for it. Sadly only siblings of a certain age will be compatible. It’s different to Leaukemia. I was gutted when I found out I couldn’t be a donor for her. This however is a brilliant opportunity for anyone to help someone fighting this bloody awful disease. I will share away. Please pass on our best to your friend and to Rob. He’s a true inspiration. I wish him all the best. #TriumphantTales
    Jaki recently posted…Online Hacks That Will Change Your LifeMy Profile

    1. I will pass on your good wishes. Thank you for reading and sharing. Karli is keeping me posted, Rob started his chemo a couple of days ago. She was telling me Rob’s donor is for. Germany where everyone is instantly on the stem cell donor register. Seems so obvious doesn’t it?.
      I hope your Mum finds a suitable donor. Sending love and hope to you, your mum and your family.

  3. Wow. How easy it is to register to potentially save someone’s life! What a beautiful story, and I’m so happy to read your friend has been given a 3rd chance at life. I will be registering to be a donor immediately. I’m not sure I will be accepted, as I’ve been on my own cancer journey, but if you don’t try you’ll never know! #Blogstravaganza

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and for signing up. You may not be accepted but by trying to register you are being fabulous. As ever 🙂 x

  4. This is a really important message – I think giving blood is much more mainstream than bone marrow. I’m signed up, but on pause until my baby is 9 months. Great post for a great cause #blogstravaganza

  5. What an important post, well done you for getting this story out there. I wish Rob every bit of luck and happiness, keep on spreading the word!! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

  6. I am so glad that the second stem cell transplant decision was reversed. I already give blood and have an organ donor card but I never thought about registering to be a stem cell donor. Have signed up now, thank you for sharing and I hope that Rob will beat cancer once again. #coolmumclub

    1. Thanks so much for reading and yay for registering. A large part of me thinks that an opt out system for donation would be a lot better.

  7. Thank you so much, for letting us know about this. I donated blood for many years (until I was bit by a child – I’m a special needs teacher), and was told I couldn’t do it. I’m also on the organ donor register. I had no idea about stem cell donation, but am off to check it out right away. Thanks so much for link g this post up with #PostsFromTheHeart

    1. I was donating everything else but had never heard of this until Karli told me about what Rob was going through. I’m proud to be on the register now though. Thanks so much for reading!

      Also, BIT BY A CHILD??? OUCH. Hope you were OK? x

  8. This is so lovely, I am so glad that you have your new (old) friend back in your life. I am unable to give blood due to medical reasons but should that situation ever change I will most definitely be donating. #postsfromtheheart

  9. I had no idea, it’s so wonderful we have these platforms now to share stories like this that encourage more people to donate. Hope he is on the mend. #postsfromtheheart

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