Hannah Eastham of Blackpool Business First donates stem cells to help save a life
Hannah Eastham, Centre Manager at our Blackpool Business First, has generously given to a really important cause, which has had a wonderful impact on a little boy’s life. She signed up with Anthony Nolan, which is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between patients in need and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells.
What made you want to join the waiting list?
You might not be aware but alongside working for Business First I am also a make up artist. About 4 years ago one of my regular clients unfortunately was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer so needed a stem cell transplant asap. I went onto the list hoping I could help her, but unfortunately I wasn’t a match. She later did find a match and is cancer free now which is amazing! 4 years later Anthony Nolan called me to explain I was a match for someone, and asked if I would be interested in donating for them, of course I said yes straight away. I didn’t really know much about the procedure until I went for my medical and they explained it all to me then.
Were you screened initially and what did that involve?
Yes, I had to travel to London, (all expenses are covered by the charity so it’s at no cost to yourself) I spent a good few hours in the hospital having to have full health checks which included taking bloods, Covid tests and ECGs. They want to make sure you are fully healthy and ok before you donate, as they have your best interests at heart too.
Have you waited long to be matched?
What did the procedure entail?
I was asked to donate from my bone marrow which involves two big needles through each sides of the pelvis, and they extract the marrow. I was put to sleep so didn’t feel a thing. You can donate via blood which is less invasive and you are in and out of hospital quickly, but they asked me to do it this way as it was for a very young boy, and when it comes straight from the bone it is more nutritious. They did say to me I have the option not to do it that way but I’d rather donate the best way possible to help the little boy as much as I could. I went to a London clinic which was glorious and the food was amazing!! I was so well looked after I felt like I was staying in a hotel.
How was the recovery?
It was ok, the pain wasn’t too bad and they give you really good pain killers, just fatigue for a couple of weeks but nothing I couldn’t handle.
We understand the recipient will be confidential, but do you know anything about them?
Yes, all I know is it’s a little boy who’s a young child and he isn’t from the UK.
Would you recommend other people sign up?
100%, if there is one thing you can do in your life it’s to help save another life, surely!
I’m sure the boy’s family are so grateful to Hannah for giving him a fighting chance against his illness, and we’re all really proud of her here at Business First for doing such a wonderful thing.