Register as a Donor

Record Breaking Numbers Help Oscar’s Fight Against Cancer

Thousands of people attended a donor registration drive to see if they could be a potential lifesaver for five-year-old Oscar and others searching for their matching donor.

Little Oscar Saxelby-Lee is fighting a rare blood cancer after being diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) on 28 December 2018. He has just three months to find his lifesaver and receive a blood stem cell donation to have a second chance at life.

Oscar

His parents, Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee, launched an appeal with our help to find his lifesaving stranger.

Olivia said: “We felt like we could not see light at the end of the tunnel but, when looking at Oscar’s cheeky smile, bravery and determination, we managed to pull our strength together again.

From the moment of fear and confusion, we as a family became stronger than ever. Oscar reminded us how to fight again and how courageous he is.

Not once has he shown weakness, nor has he ceased to amaze us throughout the most difficult times, and that to us is a true warrior. Oscar is a fun, loving, energetic five-year-old boy. Not only does he need to enjoy a normal life, he now needs someone else to save him.”

Oscar and parents

Record breaking figures

An event took place at Oscar’s school, Pitmaston Primary School, on 2 and 3 March, where record breaking numbers turned up to help Oscar’s fight against cancer.

This was the largest donor drive in our six-year UK history as an incredible 4,855 people registered across the two days, breaking the previous record of 2,260 set in 2013.

The Worcester community fully supported the event and waited patiently in the rain as the 80 volunteers registered people including: the local MP Robin Walker, players from Malvern Town Football Club (who called in en-route to their match) and the local firefighters.

Oscar

A huge thank you

Kate Wilcock at Pitmaston Primary School said: “There are no words to express our heartfelt thanks and love for the thousands of amazing people who turned up at the weekend. With the help of our incredible volunteers, we registered 4,855 blood stem cell donors that could be a lifesaver for Oscar and others in the same situation.”

Since the weekend we have continued to see a spike in requests for home swab kits as Oscar’s story has gained media attention in regional, national and international outlets urging people to take the first step to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS said: “It’s humbling to see a community come together and fully support Oscar’s search for his lifesaver. We are grateful to every single person that supported the event and to those that took the time to register with us and are now a lifesaver-in-waiting.”

Lifesaving starts here!

Registering for the chance to save a life is exciting, but before you begin, please be sure you haven’t registered before with another donor center. Also, we ask that all registered donors be willing to donate to any patient. Lastly, please scroll down to review the two ways to donate.

Let's get started!

See if you are eligible

As a registered bone marrow donor, you will be on standby to save a life.

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If you live outside the United States please contact a donor center in the country where you live.

 

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Members of the military can register with The C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program.

 

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You must be between the ages of 18 and 55.

 

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You have to be healthy in order to be eligible.

 

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You must weigh more than 105 lbs. and have a body mass index of 40 or below.

 

But there are still many other ways to help!

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Are you in overall good health?

We want to make sure that helping a patient won’t impact your health. Please review the following list of criteria. If you are not sure about a requirement, feel free to call us at 866.340.3567.

YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO REGISTER IF YOU ARE:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 55
  • In good general health
  • At least 4’10” and weigh more than 105 pounds, but not exceed a maximum BMI of 40.

YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO REGISTER IF YOU HAVE:

  • HIV
  • History of heart surgery or heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia
  • Sleep apnea, breathing problems or severe asthma (daily inhalers are acceptable)
  • Diabetes requiring insulin or injectable medication
  • Hepatitis B or C
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • History of stroke, including TIA
  • Chronic or severe neck, spine or back problems
  • Epilepsy or other seizure within one year
  • History of blood clotting or bleeding disorders
  • History of head injury or multiple concussions
  • Personal history of cancer (exceptions: Stage 0 or in situ melanoma, breast, bladder, cervical and cured localized skin cancer such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma)

If you have questions about whether your medical history would prevent you from donating, please contact donorrelations@dkms.org or 212.209.6700.

You could be someone's lifesaver!

She Became a Bone Marrow Donor and Saved a Life!
She Became a Bone Marrow Donor and Saved a Life!


Approximately 70% of all patients in need of bone marrow transplants must find a matching donor outside of their family. Watch this video to learn how Madison dedicated her time to save a strangers life.

How Bone Marrow Donations Work

Two Ways to Potentially Save A Life

Donation

If you are one of the lucky ones that becomes a match for a patient, there are two ways you can donate and help that person get a second chance at life. The patient's doctor will select the method that promises the best outcome for the patient, so we ask that potential donors understand both procedures and be comfortable moving forward with either one.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation

This is the donation method used in 75% of cases. Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that collects blood stem cells via the bloodstream. It takes about 4-8 hours on 1-2 consecutive days.

Bone Marrow Donation

This is the donation method used in about 25% of cases, generally when the patient is a child. It is a 1-2 hour surgical procedure performed under anesthesia, so no pain is experienced during the donation. Marrow cells are collected from the back of your pelvic bone using a syringe.

 

During the procedure, your blood is drawn through one arm and passed through a machine that filters out the blood stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through your other arm. To increase your blood stem cells prior to donation, you will receive daily injections of a synthetic protein called filgrastim on the 4 days leading up to and on the morning of the procedure. The actual donation can take from 4-8 hours over the course of 1-2 days.

Possible Side Effects & Recovery

While taking filgrastim, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, bone and muscle aches and fatigue. Most side effects will begin to subside within 48 hours of donating. A majority of donors report a full recovery within 1 week.

We check up with you regularly after donation to make sure you are recovering properly. If you are not, we will arrange any necessary follow-up care.

 

Possible Side Effects & Recovery

You may experience some pain, bruising and stiffness for up to two weeks after donation. Within a week of donating, you should be able to return to work, school and many regular activities. Your marrow will completely replenish itself within 3-6 weeks.

We check up with you regularly after donation to make sure you are recovering properly. If you are not, we will arrange any necessary follow-up care.