What is stem cell donation?

The Dragonfly symbolises resilience, hope, and love. Eimear had all of those qualities and more. Her dying wish was that more people would join the Stem Cell Donor Registry. The healthiest stem cells to be donated come from whose aged between 16-30. This is because every time you are ill it weaklings you immune system, the older the person the higher risk of weaker stem cells. Men are also preferred for the following reasons.

. They produced more stem cells

. They don’t get pregnant (when you are pregnant you can’t donate during the pregnancy and for 12 months afterwards. 

This is where you can help me honour Eimear’s memory by encouraging your family and friends to join the stem cell donor registry at Anthony Nolan, and DKMS if you are aged over thirty. 

Because Eimear lived in Northern Ireland she had to travel outside of Northern Ireland to received a donor stem cell transplant because her siblings were not a match for her. Eimear was 24, facing life threatening illness and was told that she must travel to Dublin or London for treatment as non-related stem cell transplants are not performed in Northern Ireland.

This campaign is for our health care providers to make none-related Stem Cell transplants to be available for all children, teenagers and young adult Stem Cell patients in Northern Ireland, and not just those who’s sibling is a match. And for age appropriate facilities and environment for young adults aged 18-24 who are diagnosed with life threatening illness to receive their treatment and care. 

Every year up to thirty people are separated from their family and friends because Non-related Stem cell donation transplants are not available in Northern Ireland. We feel that it is totally unacceptable that patients especially children and TYA’s have to travel outside of Northern Ireland for a Stem cell transplant if their siblings is not a match. Even if the patients next door neighbour is a match both the patient and the donor have to travel outside of Northern Ireland.

We are also calling on the Northern Ireland Health trusts to to have aged appropriate care packages for young adults aged 18-25, similar to those available in the UK, NHS. Once you become aged 16, you are considered to be a adult, and therefore you receive you cancer treatment alongside people who could be over the age of retirement. 

Just imagine you are 16, just about to start your first job, and you are told that you’ve cancer and your life is in danger. You are sent to Belfast City Hospital’s (BCH) Bridgewater treatment centre and are treated alongside people in the golden years. That is not right and is not fair on either of the patients. England, Scotland, and Wales have dedicated wards for people aged 18-25, who have life threatening illness Why do we not have the same facilities for our young adults. why are they treated differently from those in the rest of the UK?

When patients are treated outside of Northern Ireland it causes them and their families additional financial burden and great emotional stressors which we believe can be detrimental to the recover of the patient and damaging to the mental health of the patients family and friends.  

The Cancer Centre in Belfast a modern building which would be more than antique for young adults fighting life threatening illness. However,  Blood cancer patients are not treated in the modern Belfast cancer centre, that’s only for patients with non-blood cancers. Blood cancer patients are treated in totally outdated ward 10 North BCH. The horrible conditions and inadequate facilities in ward 10 North are only bearable because of the dedication of the fantastic health care workers who go way beyond their call of duty to help both the patient and the patients families.

we are calling on Minister Swan to improve the services for young adults age 16-25 were they receive their treatment for life threatening illness and for children and TYA’s in Northern Ireland to be able to have all donor stem cell transplant in Northern Ireland. 

 

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