Swan Districts join donation registry to help save lives

Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 11:28 AM by Matthew Ogg

The 12th of December 2019 is a date that many at the Swan Districts Football Club will remember with great pride, as it was the day they held a Bone Marrow Drive to help save lives throughout the community.

A friend of a staff member at the club, Jordan Saccoccio was just 21 when he received the news that he had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Living life to the fullest, he worked six days a week across two jobs, played soccer, loved socialising with mates and was just six weeks away from travelling to Europe with his family. Life was good, that was until a lingering cold became the catalyst for a routine blood test. The results changed their lives in an instant.

AML is a group of Leukaemia’s that develop in the myeloid cell line, which is located within the bone marrow. The overproduction of immature white blood cells crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from producing normal blood cells. They also interfere with the red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body) and platelets (which thicken or clot the blood to prevent bleeding). These cells spill out into the bloodstream and circulate the body.

Jordan’s best chance of survival was by way of a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. Incredibly, no donor existed for him on the international donor registry.

After hearing of Jordan's story, over 60 staff, coaches, volunteers and players jumped at the chance to join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, with the hope they may be able to change someone's life for the better.

All it took to be on the registry was a simple mouth swab to assess tissue type.

From this simple, non-invasive act it was found that Swans big man, Matt Germs, was a match for someone else requiring a transplant.  

“I received a call late last year to say that I was a potential match” Matt said. “There is such a slim chance of being a match for someone and they made it clear that there was still the chance I may not be a perfect candidate, as it was still in the preliminary stages.

“I went and had a little bit of bloodwork done and it was confirmed that I was a match, which was awesome news.

“The process from now is pretty harmless, and people still seem to think that the actual donation part means getting a big needle stuck through your bone. The technology is getting really good now and it’s basically like having a blood test that takes a little longer than usual.

“I encourage everyone to go on the registry. It is so easy now and the more people we can get on the registry, the more chance there is of someone receiving a really good shot at life”.

The Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry are still in need of people willing to become donors.

This can be done in the comfort of your own home by ordering a free kit from https://strengthtogive.org.au/. This simple act of kindness takes seconds, yet has the ability to save someone’s life. To learn more about Jordan’s story, visit www.facebook.com/Jordansfightclub/