A new centre for blood stem cell donations in Scotland has made it easier and quicker for people to provide and receive donations that could ultimately save lives, according to bodies involved in the service.
Blood cancer charity DKMS and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) revealed this weekend a woman named only as Gemma had become the first ever unrelated blood stem cell donor in Scotland at the new collection centre based in Edinburgh.
The two organisations, which worked together to establish the service, described the donation as a milestone marking the start of “transformative journey” for patients battling blood cancer and related disorders.
The service will substantially reduce travel time for Scottish donors, who previously had to travel to Sheffield or London to be assessed and provide donations, as well as facilitate faster cell collection for patients.
Gemma, an SNBTS staff member registered with DKMS as a potential donor since 2015, said: “I will always remember when I saw the email saying I was a potential match – you couldn’t scrape me off the ceiling, I was so excited, I ran to tell everyone. I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Helen Kelly, head of projects and operations at DKMS, said of Gemma’s donation: “Her donation exemplifies the positive change possible when individuals unite against blood cancer.
“We’re grateful for Gemma’s contribution and anticipate more transformed lives through future donations at the new Edinburgh centre.”
Dr Lynn Manson, SNBTS clinical lead for therapeutic apheresis services, added: “An Edinburgh facility will reduce travel time for donors and help ensure stem cell donations are available when needed.”
Both organisations are appealing to people aged 17 to 55 to register as potential donors. For details visit www.dkms.org.uk/register-now for more information.