Ely window cleaner writes about his experience of donating bone marrow to help leukaemia sufferer and urges others to follow
10:27 26 August 2014
An Ely window cleaner who donated bone marrow after being found to match a patient with leukaemia is urging others to follow his lead.
While Michael Mears, 23, was in hospital, he took the time to write about his experience.
He posted the following message on the Bone Marrow Registry Awareness and Outreach Facebook page:
“Hello there, my name is Michael Mears and I recently donated my bone marrow. I am now trying to dispel some of the many myths behind donating bone marrow, myths which often hold people back when it comes to applying to join the register.
“This might be a bit of an awkward read as I am typing one handed but bare with it. As some of you know I am currently in Kings College Hospital in London.
“For those who don’t know the reason I am donating bone marrow after being found to match a patient with blood cancer/ leukaemia.
“I wanted to write about my experience, dispelling the myths that prevent others from doing this and give you a few facts.
“A lot of people have told me how painful it is. It’s not, I have the pain threshold of a child, so when I say the most you feel is a prick and some aching you know it’s not that bad.
“Regarding a spinal tap, this is utter nonsense. The tests no longer involve a spinal tap. This was the case over a decade ago, not any more.
“To the people who take delight in spreading these myths it goes beyond a joke and needs to stop. It is anything but a joke when people are being put off donating purely out of misplaced fears.
“Now, I have to admit, I have never given blood, I have always been one of those people who says I’ll get around to it but never has.
“That is something I intend to rectify because there is no reason not to.
“With bone marrow and stem cells the match rate is nothing like blood types.
“I believe the figure is one in 5000 people are a match for bone marrow. So when someone needs a transfusion there is the potential to be 4,999 non matches. The attitude of someone else will do it doesn’t work.
“Getting tested for a match is easy. Go online, search delete blood cancer or Anthony Nolan, apply for a test kit.
“When you get this kit, it contains several swab sticks which you rub as instructed to collect samples.
“It takes five minutes including the time to post it back in the prepaid envelope.
“You might not be matched for months, years or at all, but if you are matched you can potentially save a life.
“This could be anyone, a boy, girl, man, woman, black, white, Asian, Indian -you get it - anyone.
“I implore all my friends to get tested. Please, you can opt out at any time. I still could right now as I sit hooked up to the centrifugal system.
“You have nothing to lose by being tested. Countless people are praying for a match to come forwards, you might be that match.”