Luke donated his stem cells to someone he didn't know

I am thrilled I was able to donate and help someone in this way. I don’t know much about the recipient, just that he was another man from Europe. I really hope he is doing well.

Luke Broadway, 21, donated his stem cells in June 2018. Here Luke shares his story:

“I had always wanted to donate blood as a child/teenager. I can’t really remember why; my Grandparents were blood donors, but I always knew it was a good thing to do.

I registered as soon as I was able to and gave blood for the first time a few weeks after my 17th birthday.

My first donation was easy, and I have continued to give blood ever since. I try to donate every three months and book each appointment in advance.”

It was at an appointment in early 2018 that Luke saw the leaflet for the British Bone Marrow Register (BBMR). It had been left on a chair while Luke was waiting to be called for his iron test and to go through his health check questionnaire.

Luke spoke to staff on the session and decided that he would like to give an extra sample of blood so he could join the Bone marrow register. An extra sample tube was taken, and Luke thought no more about it until he received a call from the NHS Blood and Transplant team a few months later.

It was absolutely fantastic to get that call! I always knew I was helping people by giving blood but to be told I could potentially save a life directly was amazing.

“The staff explained the process and I immediately agreed.”

Luke was on a gap year from his studies, so the timing worked really well. Luke travelled from his home in Dorset to a hospital in Bristol for further tests. These were to assess if Luke was the best possible match for the patient and ensure that by donating his stem cells Luke would not become unwell.

The tests and results took several weeks to complete but then Luke was given the news that he was the best match and it was safe for his donation to go ahead. Luke travelled to Bristol once again for the donation.  

The process of donating stem cells was pretty straightforward...I even managed to do some reading for my studies while I was donating!

Luke adds “The process of donating stem cells was pretty straightforward. It took longer than giving blood and I had two needles instead of one but apart from that it felt very similar. I even managed to do some reading for my studies while I was donating!”

Luke is now at Exeter University studying law and recovered very quickly from his donation.

“I have now gone back to giving blood and plenty of my friends at university give blood too. It is an amazing way of helping others. I will continue to donate blood for as long as I am able to.”