A 23-YEAR-OLD man from Cirencester selflessly donated some of his stem cells to help give a stranger suffering with blood cancer a second chance at life.

Alex Reeves, who works in recruitment helping people leaving the armed forces into employment, signed up to a stem cell register at the Phoenix Festival in Cirencester last summer after chatting to a volunteer who was working on the DKMS - a blood cancer charity - stall.

Less than three months later, he was called to be a potential match for a patient.

A blood test and medical checks confirmed that Alex was a perfect match so he undertook a week of special G-CSF (Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor) injections to prepare his body for the donation. 

Most stem cell donations are made through a procedure similar to giving blood, but Alex was asked to donate via bone marrow which is extracted under general anaesthetic via a needle in the hip bone. 

Strict regulations protecting the anonymity of donors and recipients means that Alex only knows that the patient his stem cells went to was a woman from the United States who is in her 20s.

Now, with World Blood Cancer Day coming up on Tuesday, May 28, Alex has joined forces with DKMS to encourage other people to join the register too. 

Alex said: “After donating, I was back on my feet the day after and didn’t experience much pain. 

“It’s amazing how becoming a stem cell donor can connect you to anyone across the world.

"What you’re doing can really help someone.

"Hopefully my recipient now has a lot more life to look forward to.”

A spokesperson for the charity said: "People from dual heritage backgrounds like Alex, whose father is Ghanaian, are under-represented on the register, and the harsh reality is that people from such backgrounds can die waiting for a compatible stem cell match. 

"There’s an urgent need for more people to sign up as every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer. 

"To find out more visit www.dkms.org.uk"