Why I decided to be a stem cell donor


I did it.

I clicked the button ‘yes I register as stem cell donor’. That actually means very little until there is a match found, but to me it means a lot. I don’t like needles (yes, I am one of those pussys) and to donate stem cells, well.. you need multiple needles in your arms or back.

It all started a month ago. During Thanksgiving dinner we were wondering whether doctors can track stem cells in your blood. As I am very curious by nature, I wanted to know the answer immediately and bumped on this informative website. I was so intrigued by the initiative I stepped away from the table and read the whole site.

In the weeks after, I researched more about stem cell donation and I couldn’t find a reason not to do it, except for the needles. The only question popping up in my head was: ‘Do I want to save a life?’. Maybe someone out there has Leukemia and can only use my stem cells to survive.

I am one of those lucky bastards to be healthy and happy, but not everyone has that much luck. What is my stupid fear of needles if I can be the one responsible for giving a stranger a second chance? A chance to live?

This year I decided not not to join in the whole Christmas shebang and skip giving & receiving presents. It stresses me out to navigate through heaps of people in shopping streets, I don’t need another set of coffee mugs and I believe the idea of Christmas presents is as orchestrated as running into Micky Mouse in Disneyland. So in the free time I had by not buying presents, I turned the switch: Yes, I want to be a stem cell donor.

This year my Christmas present goes to a stranger, who can really use it. I can only dream that my stem cells give someone out there the opportunity to survive and enjoy another Christmas. And to me that’s the best Christmas present I could give and get.

Merry Christmas!

Originally published at www.judithstraetemans.be on December 25, 2014.