URGENT: A father of 7, recently diagnosed with MDS needs your help

Damian, a father of 7, needs an urgent stem cell transplant

This is an urgent appeal for stem cell donors, for a Dad who was diagnosed in July 2018 with a high-risk form of MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndromes, a rare form of blood cancer, that can progress to leukaemia.

Damian is a father of 7 lovely children – aged 4 to 27.  Damian was told that without treatment, he only had 6 months to live, as his type of MDS is severe and progressing fast. (Read more in The Scarborough News)

End of 2018, he was given intensive chemotherapy to try and reduce the severity of the disease, with a view to do a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible.

This treatment worked to some extent, but sadly, right at the beginning of 2019, the disease flared up again.

He is now looking at another cycle of chemotherapy - but of a different kind, in the hope to get him into remission, and then go through with the stem cell transplant.

If there was a matched donor available, this would be a fairly straight-forward sequence of events. But currently, there is no perfect match for Damian.

Overall, there are multiple options for stem cell transplants (or bone marrow transplants)

  • Often, a sibling can be a good match.
  • Or an unrelated matched donor can be found.
  • Sometimes stem cells from cord blood is an option.  This is when the stem cells contained in the umbilical cord of a new born baby are used.  Two umbilical cords are necessary to provide enough stem cells for 1 adult patient.

For Damian, the cord blood transplant is being considered, but staff only have 1 lot of umbilical stem cells. Another lot of umbilical cord stem cells are needed to go ahead with the transplant.

And this is where pregnant ladies and the general public can help!

There are 5 hospitals in the UK that have the facilities to collect and process the donated umbilical cord blood and stem cells.

Those are:

  • Barnet
  • Luton and Dunstable
  • Watford
  • St George’s, Tooting, London
  • UCL, London

As well as 4 Anthony Nolan collection points:

  • Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester
  • King's College Hospital, London
  • Leicester Royal Infirmary
  • Leicester General Hospital

All details as to how to register to donate your baby’s umbilical cord after the birth can be found here:


Your action is needed:

We ask all readers to share this post and information with any pregnant ladies you may know – especially in the geographical areas listed above.

If a 2nd lot of these stem cells proves to be a match for Damian Butcher, the transplant can go ahead.

The option 2: a transplant with cells donated by his brother – who is a half-match.  This is called a Haplo transplant.  Possible – but not the preferred option so far.

Alternatively, there could be another option, an adult unrelated donor – if a match could be found. We therefore ask new donors to come forward urgently to get registered. This can be done via Anthony Nolan (for those aged 16-30)  Or DKMS (for those aged 18-55)

You can read more on Damian on the Anthony Nolan site and the DKMS site.

Registration is extremely easy. Nowadays the donation part is almost pain-free and not much worse than a blood donation.

Get informed, speak to staff, consider it very seriously.

Your actions could save Damian's life.

Thank you


How to donate bone marrow

If you’re between 16 – 30 and in good health, sign up to Anthony Nolan's register and you could be a lifesaving match for someone with blood cancer

You Can Become a Donor!

Even if you’re older than 30 you can become a blood donor if you're in good health. Check your eligibility at the dkms site

How to Join the Register? All it takes is a bit of spit or a swab!

Your stem cells could end up saving the lives of someone facing a desperate situation anywhere in the world.

If you are called to donate, there are two simple and easy ways to give stem cells.

One method takes just 3 - 4 hours and is not dissimilar to giving blood. If a patient needs a bone marrow transplant then the consultant will be checking the worldwide registers for a suitable match.

However, it's important to encourage family and friends to join!

What happens if you are a match? Bone Marrow Donation Procedure

Your animated guide to becoming a bone marrow donor. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about donation, from joining the register to what happens if you are a match.

What are stem cells? How can they be used for medical benefit?

A part of your bones called “bone marrow” makes blood cells. Marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside bones. It contains cells called “hematopoietic” stem cells (pronounced he-mah-tuh-poy-ET-ick). These cells can turn into several other types of cells. They can turn into more bone marrow cells. Or they can turn into any type of blood cell. Here is a short educational film by the Irish Stem Cell Foundation

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