A campaign to help Joel Picker-Spence, a six year old boy with leukemia, managed to potentially save 14 other lives. The campaign was intended for the boy, but unfortunately, it was too late and he passed away before his seventh birthday.
The Join for Joel campaign was continued by his mother even after his death.
Most of the hundreds of people who join to donate to this cause will not be able to proceed as there is only a 1 in 900 chance of matching with someone within five years of signing up. Of those hundreds who were screened, 14 people contacted Joel’s mother saying they managed to donate to the campaign.
Is donating stem cell painful?
Stem cells can be harvested directly from the bloodstream through a procedure called peripheral blood stem cell donation.
Hormone injections are given to donors to increase the stem cells in their blood streams so it can be extracted like donating blood.
Stem cells can also be extracted from the bone marrow which needs to be done under anesthesia to remove the pain. Donor from this procedure would feel bruised and tired and requires break from work to fully recover.
Healthy people from age 16-30 are the ones that can join for the Anthony Nolan register.
Donors from 17-40 that have donated blood before can sign up for the British Marrow Registry.
Over 200 potential stem cell donors have joined the Anthony Nolan Register after signing up for the campaign Join for Joel. People from 16-30 are the only ones accepted by the organization, but that didn’t stop people from signing up to other alternatives as per Joel’s mother.