“Everyone who is eligible should add themselves to the register, you never know, you might save someone’s life!” Shad O’Beirne
For Identitywa’s Training Nurse, Shad O’Beirne, the decision to register on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) was not a hard one.
Shad had previously worked for the Red Cross, assisting in facilitating bone marrow donations, so he had experienced first-hand how the life-saving treatment could potentially change people’s lives.
“I was contacted in October 2019 to be told that I was a match for someone who needed transplant,” said Shad.
“I signed up to the registry in 2000 and had been contacted once before in 2014, but unfortunately I was not a match. This time, I was!” said Shad.
“I truly believe that everyone who is eligible should add themselves to the register as donating bone marrow to a person will potentially save their life.”
Latest research by ABMDR reports that every 40 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with blood cancer.
“Blood stem cells come from bone marrow, this is where red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are made. If a person’s bone marrow is damaged from leukaemia, for example, a stem cell transplant is often their only hope of survival,” explains Shad.
“The biggest problem for people who are suffering from leukaemia is that the stem cells have to come from a donor who closely matches the person. Only 30 per cent of people needing stem cells find a donor in their own family which means that a stem cell transplant from a stranger is their only hope,” said Shad.
“Joining the ABMDR is easy. You just need to fill in the form at a Red Cross Lifeblood donor centre then book in for a normal blood donation at donateblood.com.au.
The bone marrow database is worldwide, and identities are kept private. Only 1 in 1,500 potential Australian donors are asked to donate in a year.
“If you join the registry there’s a chance that one day you will be matched with someone who needs specific blood stem cells to survive which is an amazing gift to be able to give,” said Shad.