Twenty-six years after signing up as a bone marrow donor, Roger Dumford got the call which, on April 8, allowed him to give another man “the chance of life”.
Roger 53, a plant controller at Hanson Cement in Ketton said: “When I got the call, I thought this is it. But I was excited that I was donating. Of course, there was some anxiety, but it was such a good feeling afterwards.
“While I was going through the procedure I was wondering what my recipient would be going through. For me it was jut a bit of inconvenience. That is such a little to do for someone else to have a massive gain.
“To be helping someone who is going through hell and giving them the chance of life feels good.”
Around 1,800 people in the UK require a bone marrow transplant every year for blood cancer and blood disorders.
In the UK half a million people are registered with Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity and bone marrow register, compared with 4.8 million in Germany, for example. As a consequence much of the bone marrow needed for patients in Britain are imported from countries abroad.
Ann O’Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said: “When someone needs a bone marrow transplant, it is usually their best chance of survival. We need more donors so we can find matches for people in need of a transplant, especially young men, and people from ethnic minority communities, as they are underrepresented on the register.””
Roger, a retained firefighter, is watch manager at Upping fire station.His partner Mel Finnemore, 30, also a retained firefighter, is a stonemason at the family business Finnemore Stonemasons in Uppingham.
For the past three years she has been a registered bone marrow donor, which she signed up for while giving blood.
Mel said: “This is Roger to a T. He always helps people. We try and do our best.”
Roger, who lives in Queen’s Road, Uppingham, with Mel, said he chose to be a donor because someone in his own family could need a bone marrow transplant some day and without donors, their lives would not be saved.
He said: “People think it is a painful process, but I did not find that to be the case. It was like giving blood and having a few injections.”
Roger is now waiting for the time when he can correspond, through Anthony Nolan, with the man who received his bone marrow - usually a few months afterwards, although neither are permitted to give their personal details.
Ms O’Leary said: “What many people don’t realise is just how simple it is to be a donor. Registering simply involves providing a saliva sample.”
Donors must be aged between 16 and 49 years old and in good health. If found to be a match, they undergo a three-day course of injections at home, in order to harvest more stem cells.
On day four they travel to a centre in London or Sheffield where the collection of stem cells are carried out. All expenses incurred, including loss of earnings, are covered by the Trust.
For more information or to become a donor go to www.anthonynolan.org.