Northumberland bone marrow donor urges others to sign up

When David Clayton decided to become a bone marrow donor more than a decade ago he hoped it might one day save someone’s life

Bone marrow donor David Clayton, from Longhoughton
Bone marrow donor David Clayton, from Longhoughton
 

When David Clayton decided to become a bone marrow donor more than a decade ago he hoped it might one day save someone’s life.

Now the 36-year-old has given someone the chance of life.

David, from Longhoughton, near Alnwick, Northumberland, was told that he was the best possible match for a man in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant.

And following a five-and-a-half-hour procedure, David’s bone marrow was given to a patient with blood cancer.

David, who joined the register about 13 years ago, has come up as a potential match a couple of times but has never gone on to donate.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up this time so when I found out I was the best match in the world for the patient, I was over the moon,” he said.

After speaking to blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, David received a short course of injections to encourage his body to release the stem cells needed for donation.

He said: “I wasn’t looking forward to the injections as I’m scared of needles, but sitting and chatting with the nurse was actually good therapy.

“The donation took around five a half hours and I donated via a process called peripheral blood stem cell collection, which is a bit like giving blood. If anything it was a bit boring rather than uncomfortable. I watched TV, listened to music and played games on my phone. It was actually over far quicker than I thought.”

David is now anxious to find out how the patient is doing.

“I was soon back on track. It just felt surreal that I’d potentially saved someone’s life by doing something so simple.

“Now I’m just desperate to know how the patient’s doing. I know he’s an adult male, but that’s all, really. I should get an update this month on how he’s progressing after the transplant.

“It was so simple. You imagine it’s a complicated thing but when you find out the reality it’s just incredible. One day out of your life could give someone else the rest of theirs; there’s no reason young healthy people shouldn’t join the register if they are able to.”

Rebecca Sedgwick, national recruitment manager at Anthony Nolan, said: “As David points out, donating bone marrow is usually a simple, quick process which gives a patient with blood cancer the chance of life.

“We need to grow our register of donors to make more matches and save more lives.”

To join the Anthony Nolan register, you need to be between 16 and 30 and in good health. All potential donors stay on the register until the age of 60 and may be called to donate at any point. The charity particularly needs more men to join the register, as they are most likely to be chosen as donors, but only make up 12% of the register.

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