Northampton mascot said donating stem cells is the “best thing” he has ever done

Ray Lucas will be donating stem cells in London
Ray Lucas will be donating stem cells in London

A Northampton man who will be travelling to London tomorrow to donate his stem cells to a patient with cancer said it is the “best thing” he’s done in his life.

Ray Lucas, of Berrywood Close in Duston, signed up to the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan donor register while dressed in his Clarence the Cobbler mascot costume during a drive at last year’s Race For Life in Abington Park.

The nurse said that I was now somebody’s lifeline and they would be depending on me

Ray Lucas

The 22-year-old, who works in Thackerays in Milton Keynes, said: “There is one person I’m matched with and they could be on the other side of the world, or in the next street. I don’t know who they are but they have my contact details.

“I wasn’t nervous until the nurse came over the other day to give me a blood test and said that I was now somebody’s liefeline and they would be depending on me.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve done in my 22 years of life.”

He will be travelling to The London Clinic in Harley Street tomorrow (Sunday) and stay the night before giving blood. Doctors will then remove the stem cells and then put his blood back during a four to five hour process. Those cells will then be used to replace diseased and cancerous cells in the blood of his match.

Mr Lucas said: “The only thing that would be a problem is if there aren’t enough cells in my blood, in which case I will have to stay at the hospital another night and have actual bone marrow taken out through an injection in my back.

“That would cause a bit of pain for a week or so, but it’s nothing compared to what the patient is going through with chemo and other treatments.”

He found out he was a bone marrow match in February, despite taking the initial saliva test in June.

“They have to make sure the match is completely right,” he said, “or you could end up causing the patient more harm.

“It’s very rare that one person could be a match for more than one other patient - it’s almost like having a twin somewhere else in the world.

“But because it is so unlikely to find a match and it’s in high demand, it is so important that more people sign up. I think more people need to realise that it’s not extreme like donating organs, you just need to be between 18-30, healthy and go through a few tests.”

A regular promotor of charities - having done sky dives and sponsored walks in his Clarence costume - Mr Lucas said: “It’s just how I’ve been brought up. Members of my family have been affected by the charities I support so it is something that’s important to me.”