Carsten, who works for Medline Germany, grew up knowing that his father had saved a life. Carsten’s father was a stem cell donor whose donation gave a Canadian woman a second chance at life, and lead to a lifelong friendship. Inspired by this amazing story, Carsten decided to become a donor himself through DKMS, a German organisation dedicated to fighting blood cancers and matching donors with recipients, when he was 21.
Three years after Carsten’s initial donation, he received a call he never expected. ‘So much time had passed. I never thought I would match with someone’, he said. But, indeed, DKMS had found a match for Carsten’s stem cells. The next four weeks were a whirlwind of tests, injections and the actual donation. For Carsten, it was reassuring that DKMS confirmed multiple times throughout the process that he still willingly consented to donating and covered all his costs.
When asked before his big donation day whether he was nervous, Carsten responded, ‘No, not at all. But the feeling that I am about to save a life is indescribable. A few injections giving me flu-like symptoms and being hooked up to a machine for a couple of hours are nothing when I consider what my donation will do’. A few days later, Carsten felt 100 per cent back to normal and would like to be able to meet the recipient of his donation in the future, if possible. Due to German and international laws, DKMS allows the donor and recipient to meet only after two years if both parties consent.