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Collymore: How my blood group changed during treatment

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore says that the fear of death is something that he does not spent his time worrying about; this is after he beat cancer.

Collymore, who returned to work this week after a nine-month medical leave, said he had battled acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of cancer that inhibits white blood cell production, and the cancer had gone into remission.

“I was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told me at the time that I had probably had it for about 6 months. I went to London and they told me I had acute Myeloid Leukemia – a rare kind of blood cancer that is curable,” Collymore said during a breakfast meeting with reporters on Friday.

He candidly narrated how he was happy that he did not lose his hair and eye brows.

But what shocked many is what he disclosed has changed since he got his stem cell transfusion from an undisclosed donor from the United States.


“The mutation of the cells will have changes when they give them to you, the first change was the blood type. I used to be A+ and now I am O+,” said Mr Collymore.

His blood changed because he had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant, his own bone marrow was destroyed and replaced with the new bone marrow of the compatible donor.

He also revealed how he cried once or twice, in the early days when he didn’t know exactly if he had cancer or not but everything was indicative that perhaps he had it.

“I came to that realisation in London at the hospital when it dawned on me that it was cancer. But I don’t think I cried because I thought I was going to die, I think I cried because I started to realise how much everybody else cared.”

He says at the moment he can not handshakes with anyone because he might get infected and has to stay sanitised for the next year.