Student gives stranger a second chance at life

Grace McCullough (22) donating her stem cells at Kings College Hospital, London.

A big-hearted Banbridge student has given a stranger a second chance at life after selflessly donating her stem cells, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has revealed.

Grace McCullough becomes the latest stem cell donor to have been recruited by Belfast Marrow – a branch of Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network.

In the last two years, Belfast Marrow has recruited 1,507 people to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

Grace, a 22-year-old medical student at Queen’s University Belfast, decided to sign up to the stem cell register after representatives from Belfast Marrow gave a talk about Anthony Nolan after one of her lectures.

She said: “Throughout various placements within hospitals, I had seen first hand the devastating effect that blood cancer can have on people – the difficulties that can occur in finding a match for a stem cell transplant and the life-changing effect that a transplant can have for these individuals. However, I was unaware of the opportunity to sign up to the register until we were given a talk about the Anthony Nolan register by Belfast Marrow.”

Grace donated her stem cells at King’s College Hospital, London on October 16.

She continued: “The whole donation process was very straight-forward, and Anthony Nolan was very accommodating of everything. My stem cells were collected over two days, during which I got to sit in a comfy chair and watch a lot of TV.

“My ambition in life is to help people through the practice of medicine someday, so to be given the opportunity to help someone now, and in such a simple way, was an amazing feeling.

“I would urge anyone who hasn’t heard of stem cell donation to take time to read up about it and to seriously consider joining the register. The procedure is really nothing to be worried about, and it can literally save someone’s life.”

Anyone aged 16-30, and in generally good health, can join the Anthony Nolan register.

For more information log on to www.anthonynolan.org

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