My first confrontation with paediatric bone marrow donation was in 1991, in the outpatient department of the oldest European paediatric stem cell transplantation clinic in Leiden. As a registered nurse in Leiden I was responsible for the care of young bone marrow donors. At that time, donor care guidelines did not exist. The specialists of the transplant team were responsible for the donor examination. The majority of tests were to confirm the safety of the recipient. It is unknown whether and how donors received informed about their status. And that’s exactly what triggered me.
It was the start of a long journey that lead from poster presentations at the Dutch Society of Oncology Nursing and at the annual meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) in Courmayeur (1998), to the Master of Science in Nursing (2003, University of Cardiff), and a Doctor of Philosophy (2015, University of Leiden).
The journey is not yet over. The foundation of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) in 1994 is the start of a new era. The development of Donor Care Management helped to improve the quality of care. This website collects and shares information in the field of stem cell donation, because there is always room for improvement!