Become a donor
Becoming a donor is relatively easy and you will be joining the 37 million donors already listed in the Search and Match service of the WMDA. Although there are already many donors, there is still a need for more because for 40% of patients we are not able to find a matched donor in this global registry, especially for patients with mixed race or from ethnic minorities suitable donors are lacking.
Who can become a donor?
If you wish to become a life saving donor you must be:
- 18 – 60 years old (age limits may vary per country)
- in good health
- ready to donate for any patient in need
How to become a donor?
If you meet the criteria, you may register as a donor with one of the national organisations. Find out which organisation is active in your country and whether you are eligible to be a donor through the tool below.
Why become a donor?
Blood cancer can be cured by a blood stem cell, marrow, or cord blood transplantation if a suitable donor can be found. Only in 30% of the patients, a suitable donor can be found within the family. Seventy percent, therefore, rely on the worldwide register of unrelated donors for a possible cure for their disease. You could be the one match for them and give them a second chance at life. Read their stories from all over the world below!
“So we’re family, you’re half Latina now!” (USA)
Hello, I’m Shardé Fultz and I received an allogeneic bone marrow transplant in 2011 after receiving chemo and radiation for my cancer diagnosis in 2009. The search for a donor was nerve-wracking especially as an African American, ethnicity is important in finding a match since HLA markers are inherited. My family and I knew it would be an uphill battle since Afro-Americans make up only 4% of donors–slim pickings for a perfect match.
Thankfully, we found a match in nearly 3 months–many people wait much longer. My match was not close, but we took the risk due to the urgency and small likelihood of finding a perfect one. There are certain ways of measuring the closeness of a match, but you could say mine was about a 4 out of 10. So, there was a bit of fear about whether it would take but we took a leap of faith. Thankfully, the transplant worked albeit it came with many side effects and a very long journey of recovery…
Help Praise (UK/Nigeria)
Three-year-old Praise is a bubbly, chatty child; she loves books and reading stories, observing people and learning about life around her. Praise is very creative and likes to draw pictures, make and build things.
Sadly, not long after her birth, she was diagnosed with an inherited autoimmune condition called Chronic Granulomatous Disorder (CGD), which occurs when the white blood cells (which usually helps the body fight infections) are compromised. Having explored a number of treatment plans, a blood stem cell transplant is the best option in order to help Praise beat this. Sadly none of Praise’s family is a match and currently, there is no match anywhere in the world. Praise and her family have not been without loss from the disease. Tragically, Praise’s elder sister, Valerie, passed away in April 2020, a couple of months shy of her ninth birthday…
Sophie’s Story (Hong Kong)
What started out as a regular day on January 19th, 2017 became a visit to the pediatrician which turned into our daughter, Sophie winding up in A&E at Queen Mary Hospital. It would be a very long time before she would sleep in her own bed again. She had regular flu symptoms as all toddlers do at age 14 months. She was sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure but then her oxygen saturation levels started dropping very quickly. Sophie’s lungs deteriorated with each subsequent x-ray and every breathing apparatus used to intervene failed. Sophie was eventually placed on life support, an ECMO machine designed to bypass her lungs so we could keep her alive.
I remember signing the disclaimer in total shock and numb with disbelief. The list of potential complications and side effects went on for pages and pages, with no guarantee it would work. But Sophie’s condition was so critical that it really was the very last hope. Sophie ended up being on ECMO life support for 12 days or 288 hours or 17,280 minutes. Those were the darkest moments of my life, heavy with uncertainty and just sheer helplessness…
An Indigenous stem cell donor’s journey (Canada)
Donating stem cells to a stranger is deeply personal, altruistic – and for Melissa Deleary, just another day on the job.
Melissa’s story begins about seven years ago. As a health policy analyst with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, she organized a recruitment event in her own workplace for Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry. As the event organizer, she thought by swabbing her own cheek to collect a DNA sample for the registry she’d inspire others to do the same.
Then last June, while out for a stroll on her lunch break on a busy Toronto street, she got the call that she herself was a match for a patient.
‘Indigenous people have a smaller pool to draw from’
It took a moment for the news to sink in. As is the case with many stem cell donors, years had elapsed since she had joined the registry. But she quickly understood that because the best chance of a match is within one’s own ethnic community, the patient was likely another Indigenous person…
WMDD targets primarily the general public, but also seeks to raise awareness among policymakers, public authorities, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals, and anyone who has a genuine interest in blood stem cell donation and blood stem cell transplantation.
This website includes information about WMDD events happening around the world, how to register an event and submit international donor/recipient stories.
All forms of participation for WMDD, big or small, are encouraged. Be creative and let your heart speak. Take thank you pictures with your team or donors and post them on social media or websites. WMDD would not be possible without the continuous efforts of organisations around the world, building awareness locally in order to achieve a potential donor for each patient.
What you can do
Becoming a blood stem cell donor is relatively easy and you will be joining a club of millions of donors globally.
- Commit to becoming a blood stem cell donor today and help improve the possibility of finding a match for patients in need.
- Contact your local blood stem cell donor registry to find out how to register, or use our donor tool to see if you are eligible.
- Encourage your friends and family to become a blood stem cell donor.
- Volunteer with your local blood stem cell donor registry to reach out to the members of your community, and help manage recruitment activities.
- Participate in World Marrow Donor Day with your social media networks and raise awareness in your personal community. Download all the media materials through the download button below.