LUBBOCK, Texas — Fourth year Texas Tech medical student, Lauren Ford, donated her stem cells through DKMS this past June, saving the life of a complete stranger. DKMS is a non-profit organization dedicated to fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.
According to DKMS donor recruiter, Amy Roseman, 70% of people suffering from these blood disorders rely on donations outside of family members, which is a situation Ford was all too familiar with.
“Eleven years ago my dad was the recipient of a kidney transplant from someone in the community who heard he was in need of a donor. So I knew what is was like to rely on someone outside of your family to give your loved one the gift of life and I wanted to be availible to return that favor if it ever came up.”
After seeing a donor drive sign up while attending Abilene Christian University as an undergraduate, she quickly registered through a simple process of swabbing her cheek and sending it off. Five years later, she was finally able to return the favor saying, “when I got the call it was unexpected, but I was excited to finally get the chance to do this for someone.”
Now DKMS is making the process just as simple at home with mail in kits that can be received by registering online through DKMS.org. They encourage eligible individuals to support their mission by volunteering with their organization.
“It’s really important people understand what they are signing up for becuase they might be the only person who is found to be a matching donor for that particular patient,” says Roseman.
After being on both sides, Ford stresses the importance of donations saying “it basically gives the person a second chance at life. Without this transplant they really don’t have much longer to live and so if your able to do this and give this person 10 plus years more of life, that means everything to their families to give that time back.”