When I was looking

When I was looking
for my wedding dress

with my sister and cousin one day,
walking up a slight hill,

I realised that I just wasn't right.

A couple of days after that, we went
to dinner for my husband's birthday

and... I just knew that I wasn't right.

And I had a really bad fever and ended
up curled up in pain on the floor.

Some people have diseases
in their bone marrow,

some people's bone marrow
just does not work properly

and it needs to be replaced
with either a healthy bone marrow

or one that works.

6% of our donors
are from ethnic minorities

and therefore if you're an ethnic
minority patient that's a big problem,

and we would have
a great deal of difficulty

finding you a fully matched
white cell donor.

Waiting for somebody to join
the register and save your life

is a very scary situation to be in,

I was already aware
of lots of campaigns

for other black and mixed race people
that needed bone marrow transplants.

I already knew that there was
a lack of donors in that area,

so I was immediately,
you know, terrified.

Bone marrow
is a very old-fashioned term,

we now talk about stem cell transplants.

There are different kinds of sources
of stem cell.

You can get stem cells in the
conventional way, which is harvesting,

the collecting of bone marrow,

and that's a very different procedure
from the modern procedures.

The other very interesting
and new procedure

is where we get stem cells
in the same way we get blood.

We take the stem cells
from the blood system

and we can use those without
putting people into an operation.

I went to King's College Hospital
to donate.

That's when they put the needles
into you. That was painless by the way.

I had a cream that numbed my arm,
so I didn't feel any pain at all.

And, like blood,
you sit there but for a longer period,

it was about two to three hours for me.

Your blood goes through a machine
where they take out the stem cells

and then they return your blood
back in through your other arm

minus the stem cells.

For the recipient
a bone marrow transplant

means receiving the stem cells
of the donor

just in the same way
you would receive a bag of blood.

So just intravenously.
It took about 35 minutes.

I was sitting up and all my family
were there supporting me.

It's not painful at all to receive it.

It hit home when I started
getting letters from Sarah

and realised
there's one person out there

you were the most suitable match for

and you're the reason
that they have more of a chance

of recovering from what they've got.

It's really quite surreal as well
not knowing who it is

and then meeting the person
who's received something from you

and it's helping them recover.

My donor is literally my life saver.

If she hadn't taken the time
to do what she did,

I wouldn't be here today.
She has literally saved my life.

It's a very easy procedure to do.

It doesn't take
much of your time at all.

The impact it has on the person
receiving it is immense

and the actual effort
you have to put in is really minor.

They should stop thinking about it
and go on the website

and find out
where their local centre is.