Stem cell donor pays ‘tiny price to save someone’s life’

Stem cell donor pays ‘tiny price to save someone’s life’

David Gould opens up about undergoing four days of injections to prompt his body to produce more stem cells.

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

A stem cell donor has spoken of the “tiny price to pay to save someone’s life” and is now urging others to join the Anthony Nolan register.

David Gould, 24, from Hendon, first found out about the charity, which helps patients with blood cancer, as part of a drive to help fellow Leeds University student Alex Samuels find a bone marrow match.

Samuels was diagnosed with Anaplastic Non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2011.

While Gould was unable to help on that occasion, he remained on the register and six years later received a text from the Anthony Nolan register saying he was a potential match for someone else.

According to the charity, everyone on the register has a 1 in 790 chance of being asked to donate, but this varies according to age and gender. A young man aged 16 to 30, for example, has a 1 in 170 chance of being a donor.

“I had literally forgotten all about the register and it never crossed my mind that I might one day be a match,” said Gould, who is originally from Manchester.

After further testing, he was told there was a one in four chance of him being able to help an anonymous male patient and last month was confirmed as a definite match.

Gould underwent four days of injections to prompt his body to produce more stem cells.

On Monday, he spent five hours hooked up to a machine, which extracted blood from his left arm and returned to his right. In between, the blood was filtered and centrifuged to extract the much-needed stem cells.

Supported by his mother and girlfriend, the mechanical engineer with Transport for London admitted he was nervous prior to the procedure, but said he was “relatively comfortable” throughout his time in hospital.

He added: “I want to dispel the myths, because this is not the same as donating bone marrow, which is a major procedure. It’s just a few days of injections, which at worst leave you with flu-like symptoms, but nothing more.

“It seems incredible that a process so simple and with such a tiny price to pay can save someone’s lif. I feel really privileged to have been able to do this and I would urge others to sign up today.”

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