A Jewish doctor from Newcastle who received a life-saving stem cell transplant nearly 20 years ago is competing in the 2019 British Transplant Games.
Nadia Stock, 38, will be joining Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity that facilitated her transplant, at the annual event held later this month in Wales.
Despite picking up gold and silver medals at last year’s British Transport Games, Stock still feels nerves when standing on the starting line. “I get nervous just before each of my races because there are usually a lot of supporters and I don’t want to let them down or mess anything up. But the lovely thing about the games is how supportive everyone is,” she said.
Stock was diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-threatening condition known as aplastic anaemia in 2002 while studying medicine at Newcastle University. Her siblings did not have matching tissue types and her Jewish heritage meant she only had a 20 percent chance of finding a matching unrelated donor.
Currently, one in five donors from minority ethnic backgrounds, including people with Jewish heritage, receive the best matches, according to the charity, which is appealing for more potential donors from minority backgrounds to sign up.
But Anthony Nolan searched worldwide registries for a match and found two potential stem cell donors, including one donor in the US who was chosen as the best match.
Tom Bishop, from Anthony Nolan, said: “The games are a testament to the incredible spirit and determination of people who have gone through such a difficult and often complicated recovery. This event demonstrates that many stem cell transplant recipients like Nadia can go on to live rich, healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Stock will also compete with Team GB at the World Transplant Games held in Newcastle this August. “I’m really looking forward to it, especially as they are not only home country games, but for me they are home town games,” she said.
“It’s quite a lot of work once you are invited to join squad GB. I definitely feel pressure to train even more than usual for these games. I’m just hoping to enjoy competing at world level in my home town, as well as showing off some of the things Newcastle and the surrounding areas has to offer.”
Around 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a stranger every year. To join the register, you must be aged 16 to 30 and healthy. Find out more.
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