Big-hearted firefighter hopes to dispel donation myths

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Conor hopes he can inspire more people to become stem cell donors.

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Conor hopes to receive word from his match.

 

An inspirational firefighter has potentially saved the life of someone battling blood cancer.

Big-hearted firefighter Conor Cormack travelled to London earlier this month to donate stem cells as part of his commitment to the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Conor described the decision to donate as a “minor inconvenience” and said he is praying his match is granted a new lease of life.

He said: “I feel quite anxious at the moment. Even though I don’t know the person and have never spoken to them, I’m anxious to hear how they got on.

“Once you have donated you feel like you have a connection with that person, you’re rooting for them.”

Already a blood donor and signed up to organ donor register, Conor says he sees donating stem cells as simply: “another thing I can do to help”.

Conor is grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for its commitment to supporting him to undergo the stem cell donation process.

He is also determined to try and dispel lingering myths about stem cell and bone marrow donations.

Conor said: “There is a misconception when people think of this.

“They think it is really painful and involves getting a huge needle into your hip. It’s not like that anymore.

“I donated stem cells, but you can also donate bone marrow. I’m told by friend who has donated bone marrow that it’s no problem either.

“It is completely painless. A couple of days after the donation I felt almost back to normal.

“The main thing for me is making people aware that it is totally painless and so easy. It is a minor inconvenience and you are giving someone the chance to beat blood cancer.”

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Conor is grateful to both his Station Manager Grant Inkson and Group Manager Fraser Nixon for their support throughout the process.

He said: “As soon as I said to Fraser he said he would do whatever he could to support me.

“He said to take whatever time I needed to go and do it.

“My Station Manager, Grant, was also more than happy to give me special leave for a couple of days.”

Conor is hopeful of receiving an update from his match.

He said: “I don’t know the person who I donated to, but we are allowed to send anonymous cards to each other.

“I sent mine wishing him all the best and saying I hope he gets better soon. Hopefully I’ll get one in return.”

The SFRS has an award winning partnership with Anthony Nolan and has already seen 10,000 people sign up to the stem cell register.

Rab Middlemiss is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for the Highlands.

He said: “The partnership between ourselves and Anthony Nolan has been crucial in saving lives.

“Conor’s dedication is hugely admirable and I would like to personally thank him for continuing to strengthen this partnership.

“Thanks to Fraser and Grant as well for supporting Conor through this process.”

Conor will be joining Group Manager Fraser Nixon on Monday February 12 for a special presentation at Inverness’s Culloden Academy, where he will speak about his experience.

For more on the Anthony Nolan trust and to become a donor visit www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells

 

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