East Lothian man sacrifices honeymoon to make stem cell donation

Gareth Glynn on his donation day. Picture: Nigel Gordon/DKMS
Gareth Glynn on his donation day. Picture: Nigel Gordon/DKMS
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A newlywed has recalled the moment he had to sacrifice his honeymoon to make a potentially lifesaving stem cell donation.

Gareth Glynn, from New Winton in East Lothian, had registered as a blood stem cell donor with DKMS, a blood cancer charity, in May 2016.

Less than two years later – just as he was about to head off on his honeymoon with wife Heather – he received a phone call telling him he was a matching donor.

The pair, who tied the knot in March after six years together, had been planning to travel around the Scottish coast when they heard the news. Talk about timing.

They rescheduled because, as Gareth explained, “the coast of Scotland isn’t going anywhere”.

So, how does it all work? Gareth, 30, made the donation by means of a peripheral blood stem cell collection, where the blood is passed through a machine that isolates and collects the stem cells.

The whole process was completed within a day.

This method is used in 90 per cent of cases and the other 10 per cent of procedures are done through a bone marrow collection.

The main inspiration for joining the registry was his father’s diagnosis with liver cancer.

Gareth, who works for a packing company, was researching what he could do to help him and others in need and came across the DKMS website.

He signed up online for his home swab kit and returned the cheek swabs in order for his details to be added to the registry.

He then went on standby as a potential donor.

And as for the couple’s honeymoon, Gareth said it was worth delaying their trip to help save someone’s life and the duo are now hoping to set off in the summer.

He explained: “If I had to summarise my donation experience I would say it’s been rewarding, heartwarming and an extremely proud moment that I will never forget.”

And to make up for the delay, Gareth and Heather got themselves a new dog – a border collie called Honey.

She joins their existing six-year-old bearded collie Lola.