Students across London are recruiting hundreds of young ‘Londoners’ to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register; improving diversity in blood donations.
Their recent research showed 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match, and this drops dramatically to around 20% for people from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background (BAME).
A campaign is being spearheaded by the charity’s student volunteer network ‘Marrow’; seeking to recruit people from BAME backgrounds because it is more difficult for these patients to find a donor with a matching tissue type.
Stem cell donors recruited by Marrow, account for over a quarter of all people who go on to donate, meaning the student volunteers are a vital part of Anthony Nolan’s work. They currently operate across seven universities, including Westminster.
“London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and therefore provides the perfect opportunity to register a large number of potential donors, from a mix of backgrounds, heritages and communities,” according Aisling Cohn, Youth Programmes Senior Manager at Anthony Nolan.
Doug Mbang, 26, from Woolwich, joined the register seven years ago and is one of the many people who’ve signed up through Marrow.
He said: “If a member of my family or one of my friends got blood cancer, I’d want them to have the best chance of surviving.
“We need more people from a range of backgrounds on the register to save more lives.”
Jack Maddicks, UCL Student, was recruited by UCL Marrow and commented on his experience of about becoming a blood-type match:
“For something that could turn someone’s life around, it was remarkably simple. I would do it again in the blink of an eye.”
Over ninety percent of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a simple procedure similar to giving blood. The other ten percent donate through bone marrow, where they give cells from the bone marrow in their pelvis, under general anaesthetic.