THREE generations of a Pontypool family each turned life-saver after donating bone marrow to patients from around the world.
Allan, Chris, and Corey Taylor were all selected from the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry as the only suitable matches in the world for saving patients from Africa, America and Europe respectively.
And now the Taylor family is calling on 17-30 year olds across Wales to offer to donate their bone marrow by joining the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
“There’s a massive misconception and stigma out there around the bone marrow process,” said Corey, 25. “People seem to think they have to go through an operation type medical procedure which involves taking the bone marrow directly from your hip bone.
“The reality is quite different as 85 per cent of donations are collected through a non-surgical procedure very similar to a blood donation, it just takes a little longer and there’s very little discomfort.”
Chris, 33, said: “I was already a blood donor and decided one day to sign up to the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
“The procedure, which lasted about four hours, was absolutely fine. After my donation I stayed for about 30 minutes, had a cup of tea and then I went home. I rested over the weekend and was straight back to work on the Monday.
“I would say to anyone who hasn’t signed up, please just go and do it. You’ll feel fantastic about yourself if you get called up.
“Having just become a father myself, the thought I may have saved someone’s son or daughter’s life will stay with me for a lifetime. If I could, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”
The process involves drawing blood out of one arm, extracting the stem cells, before returning the remaining blood to your other arm. Donors typically return to normal activity a day or two following the donation.
Allan, 65, said: “I’m so proud of myself and my family. It felt great knowing my son and my grandson were doing the same thing. There’s always someone less fortunate than you out there.
“I know people can talk about giving money but I think we have done something much more than that, we have potentially given three people the gift of life. You can’t put a price on that! I’ve done what I can. You can too.”
Chris Harvey, head of the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry, said: “Every day, blood cancer patients around the world are desperately hoping to find a suitable bone marrow ‘match’. The requirements needed to match a patient with a bone marrow donor are very specific and this sadly means three in ten patients will never find the potentially lifesaving bone marrow donor they need.
“Last year 50,000 donations were made from around 40 million volunteers signed up internationally, which shows just how rare it is to be someone’s match.
“The Taylors really are a family of lifesavers.”
If you are aged 17-30, do something amazing, join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Simply, book to give blood at: welshblood.org.uk or by calling the Welsh Blood Service on 0800 252 266.