A Northfield man has written about his experience of donating potentially life saving stem cells to an anonymous cancer sufferer, to give them a fighting chance of beating their disease.
And he hopes that his blog will help to inspire others to take the brave and selfless step of signing up to the donor register.
Paul Dienn, 37, is a dad and works at a builders’ merchants in Bromsgrove as a tool hire manager. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling and plays in local band Second City Soul, along with his wife singer Jo.
Having signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register a few years ago, it wasn’t something Paul thought about daily. But when he received the call in April to say he’d been identified as a possible match for a blood cancer sufferer who needed a stem cell transplant, he was stunned. Still a few more blood tests away from checking if the donation could go ahead, Paul writes: “I talked it through with Jo (my wife) that evening. We were both completely bowled over at the prospect that I might be able to help someone who really needed it just through having registered with Anthony Nolan a few years ago.”
And Paul did turn out to be a good match and, after a few preparatory injections at home, was soon on his way to London to make his donation! His blog post takes the reader through all the processes he went through: deciding to register, being told he was a match, the initial blood tests, the trip to London to donate, the stem cell harvest process, how he felt and how he recovered.
Paul describes himself as”just a normal bloke” but to his family, he’s a hero!
His wife Jo said: “I’m extremely proud of Paul – how many people can say they’re married to a real life superhero? He’s really made a difference to another family!”
And Paul and Jo’s 8 year old son Zakk probably already thought his dad was a hero, but he now has extra reasons to think so!
Zakk said: “I think my Daddy is really cool and he has given somebody else a much happier life. He is my hero!”
Could you be somebody’s hero?
Paul hopes that sharing his experience will inspire more people to sign up to the stem cell donor register. He writes: “[…] please, please sign up – It’s so easy and yet so massively life-changing for someone if you are matched with a recipient!
“It gives a person in need a new chance at life….why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that!?”
Well done, Paul!
If you’re aged between 16 and 30, you can sign up to the stem cell donor register on the Anthony Nolan website
Alternatively, if you are already a blood donor aged 18-49, ask a staff member if you’re eligible to go on the NHSBT British Bone Marrow registry next time you give blood!
If you’re not eligible to be a donor, there are lots of other ways you can help!
For more inspiration, read Paul’s full experience in his own words here!