A cancer survivor who received a lifesaving bone marrow donation from someone she has never met has written a heartfelt poem to say thank you to the man who saved her life on World Bone Marrow Donor Day (15th September).
Kelly Coombes, a 28 year-old mother from Caerphilly, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. After two rounds of chemotherapy to help moderate the illness, Kelly was told her best chance of survival was finding a suitable bone marrow donor for a lifesaving stem cell transplant.
After months of treatment, Kelly received the news that a bone marrow match had been found: “All of a sudden when everything is really horrible, you get a little bit of hope and you feel empowered. It gives you an extra reason to fight.”
Kelly received a bone marrow transplant which cured her illness. Since receiving the lifesaving donation, Kelly has been able to marry her long term partner and was present to take her young daughter to her first day of school – life events she feared she would miss before her life saving donor was found.
After years of trying to find the right words to thank her donor, Kelly wrote a heartfelt poem to express her gratitude for the lifesaving donation.
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Kelly added: “Four weeks after I had my transplant, I was able to see my daughter. I just can’t explain that day. Because of my donor, I will get to see her grow up.
“If you sign up to join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor register, you could be giving someone else that hope that things can be okay again.”
There are currently over 20,000 people hoping to find a suitable bone marrow match.
Emma Cook, Head of the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry, is calling for more people to sign up to the registry and give blood at one of the donation centres across Wales: “Receiving a donation from a stranger, like Kelly did, is more common than people think. Only 30 per cent of recipients will actually receive a donation from within their family.
“While the Register of bone marrow donors in Wales continues to grow, the chances of someone finding a potentially lifesaving match remain low and this is why we always need more donors to join the register of bone marrow volunteers.
“Any 17-30 year old in Wales that wants to become a lifesaver can attend a Welsh Blood Service donation session and ask about joining the bone marrow register.”
On Kelly’s poem to her donor, Emma added: “The decision of whether a donor and patient choose to meet is highly emotive, many choose to remain anonymous and we must respect their wishes to do so. We’re sure there are thousands of bone marrow recipients out there, this World Bone Marrow Donor Day, who can relate to Kelly’s poem and echo her beautiful words of thanks.”
To join the bone marrow register, simply book an appointment to give blood by clicking here or calling the Welsh Blood Service on 0800 252 266.