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Adopstar employee finds out firsthand how easy it is to donate bone marrow

Date Published:22 December 2022

Over and above our core work of helping clients with their advertising and marketing needs, Adopstar is a company dedicated to helping others in need. That’s why we’re so proud of our Project Manager, George Karavasilis, who recently donated bone marrow to allow a cancer patient to receive potentially life-saving treatment.

“I am a regular blood donor,” explained George. “During a blood donation session, I was asked if I wanted to be on the British Bone Marrow Registry and whether I would be willing to donate bone marrow or stem cells if I should ever be a match for a cancer patient. I readily agreed.”

How it all happened

In June this year, George was approached to go for blood tests to see if he could be a match for a particular patient. The results take six to eight weeks to be processed, and in August, George got the news that he was a match, and he immediately agreed to become a stem cell donor.

“In September, I went to London and had a full physical exam, which included blood and urine tests as well as an ECG, medical history review and height and weight measurements,” shared George. “I also had a consultation with the doctors, during which they explained the procedure.”

Four days before the cells are harvested, stem cell donors need to get medicine injected into their systems. “I was able to have these injections at home,” George told us. “It’s a total of four injections a day, administered by a visiting nurse for four days. This medicine serves to boost the creation of stem cells inside the bones and to extract these cells to the bloodstream.”

Side effects of these injections include flu-like symptoms like bone pain, dizziness and fatigue – all of which George endured with no complaints. After the four days of injections, George travelled to London and had the procedure done the following morning.

Painless procedure

George describes the procedure as being easy and painless. “A needle was inserted into my left hand to extract blood. This blood then went into a machine, where the stem cells are extracted and separated. The rest of the blood was then returned to my body through another needle in my right hand.”

During the procedure (which lasts four to five hours), the stem cell donor is free to move the arm to which blood is being returned. “Your left arm, however, needs to be kept still,” clarified George.

Once this is done, the clinic staff will measure the number of stem cells extracted and advise whether or not a second session is needed. If it is needed, the donor will return to the clinic the next day for a second donation session. In George’s case, only one session was needed.

Admin and expenses are taken care of

There’s no need to worry about being out of pocket for donating bone marrow. Your train tickets and a hotel room for two nights are booked and paid for in advance by the British Bone Marrow Registry. Other expenses, including food, parking and compensation for days lost from work are paid back to you. “Mine were refunded two days after I submitted my claim, with no issues,” confirmed George.

Next steps

As a bone marrow donor, George remains dedicated to the same patient for the next two years, in case another donation is needed. The Bone Marrow Registry will check on the donor at set times over the years ahead to ascertain whether more bone marrow is needed.

As a company, we are immensely proud of George’s bravery and selflessness. We hope that his story inspires more people to become bone marrow donors and potentially play a part in saving the life of someone fighting the battle against cancer. For more information about bone marrow donations and how you can get your name onto the registry, visit the British Bone Marrow Registry online.

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