Shipyard worker Brad Lawson from Walney may have saved a stranger’s life with his stem cell donation – NW Evening Mail

Posted: January 19, 2021 at 2:46 pm

A SHIPYARD worker has potentially saved a stranger's life after donating his stem cells to a person in desperate need.

Brad Lawson, from Walney, first signed up to be a stem cell donor six years ago after an event at his college.

Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body.

Every 14 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia.

For many, a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is their only chance.

They need cells from a healthy person with the same tissue type to replace and repair their own damaged cells.

About 30 per cent of people in need can find a suitable donor in their family but the other 70 per cent rely on a stranger to save their lives.

This is what prompted Mr Lawson to travel hundreds of miles to London to give his much-needed donation.

The 23-year-old said: "I first signed onto the register six years ago and hadn't thought much about it since.

"Then I was shocked to get a phone call the other week to say they'd matched a patient with my stem cells.

"It's quite rare to match with someone - it's only one in 800 people so I knew I had to help."

Mr Lawson travelled down to London where he underwent peripheral blood stem cell collection.

The process involves having a course of injections prior to collection to stimulate the bone marrow and increase the number of stem cells and white blood cells in the blood.

He said: "I had no hesitation about going down there when I got the call. When you sign up, you need to be fully committed if you do get a call.

"This could be someone's chance of survival and I would never pull out of something like that.

"The process was actually really easy. It takes about five hours and isn't painful at all.

"I absolutely hate needles and didn't find it painful at all."

Mr Lawson said it felt 'rewarding' to know his donation could have possibly saved a stranger's life.

"You could potentially give someone the chance to survive by signing up," he said.

"It's an amazing thing to do which could seriously make a difference.

"I may be in that position one day where I desperately need stem cells and would like to think someone out there would help me.

"Donations literally saves lives. It's a really rewarding thing to do to be able to help someone in this way."

Mr Lawson is urging the public to sign up to the register.

"Only about two per cent of people in the UK are actually on the register," he said.

"I'm telling everyone to sign up and raise awareness of stem cell donation.

"The more people we can get to sign up, and save lives, the better."

To register, visit: http://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now.

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Shipyard worker Brad Lawson from Walney may have saved a stranger's life with his stem cell donation - NW Evening Mail

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