A member of our team could potentially save the life of another person, having been matched as a bone marrow donor.
Senior software developer Robert Kitching, 27, is this week donating bone marrow after being matched two weeks ago. Rob, who lives in Cardiff, signed up to the register as a teenager, following a friend’s illness, but gave it no more thought - so the recent call from the Welsh Blood Service came out of the blue!
“It’s very random and being matched isn’t something you expect,” said Rob, who, coincidentally, worked as a software developer for Cardiff University’s haematology team before joining ActiveQuote two years ago. “You have better odds of winning the lottery, so maybe I should have bought a ticket!
“I have given blood for around eight years. One of my closest friends needed a marrow transplant for aplastic anaemia when we were 18 or 19, so one day on the blood bus I just ticked the box to say I would be interested in donating. Eight years later, I got a match.”
After three days of injections, Rob is this week undergoing the donating process at
St Joseph’s Hospital, Newport. “I’ll have more injections, then I’ll stay in overnight and they’ll take the bone marrow the following day,” said Rob. “I’ll be hooked up to a machine for around five to seven hours, while they take the blood, extract the marrow and put the blood back into me. It’s said to be less painful than the old method, where they take the marrow from your pelvic bone.
“It’s absolutely worth a few days of my time, even if it extends the person’s life by a few years. There’s a chance I’ll be asked to donate to the same person again in the future, although that’s rare. I don’t know much about the recipient, but in the future we can send an anonymous card to each other and, if we both agree, we can find out more.”
Rob, who enjoys going to the gym and has a passion for motorbikes, is now hoping more of his colleagues will sign up to give blood and join the bone marrow register. He said: “ActiveQuote has been really supportive and we’re currently talking to the Welsh Blood Service about getting the bus to come to Cardiff Bay, hopefully teaming up with some of the other offices here too.”
Sales support manager Tracy Carwardine said: “I personally think that what Rob is doing is totally selfless. He is very humble and taking it in his stride, but I don’t think he knows what an amazing impact this act of kindness could potentially have on the recipient.
“ActiveQuote has supported Rob during the whole process and has allowed him the time needed to recover. It’s because of Rob’s story we have joined forces with the surrounding businesses and are in the process of organising for a blood bank truck to visit the office for much needed blood donations. All in all, a great result from a great act of kindness. Well done Rob!”