You may be a blood donor, you may even carry an organ donor card, but have you ever considered being a bone marrow / stem cell donor?
Joining the register is something we should all consider. The cost to the donor is time and compassion. The value of the donation to families affected is immeasurable.
Every year over 7,000 people in the UK have their lives shattered by devastating news that they require a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Leukaemia and other potentially fatal bone marrow disorders strike indiscriminately and have a profound effect on all concerned. For many patients without a sibling match, volunteer donors offer the only alternative, the only chance of life.
Patients need a donor who is of the same ethnic or racial background. And people of mixed heritage can find it harder still - they need a donor with a similarly mixed ethnicity.Statistics show that less than three per cent of the total number of donors are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Tragically, most adults and children from diverse backgrounds cannot get the life-saving bone marrow transplant they need because there is no match for them in the registry. More donors from diverse backgrounds are desperately needed. The more people on the register who are willing to donate increases the chance of a suitable match being found.
There are three stem cell registers in the UK that you can join. Whichever you choose, you’ll be registered until your 60th birthday. Anthony Nolan and DKMS will send you a mouth swab pack with detailed instructions. If you donate blood you can tell the staff you want to register for stem cell donation when you next give blood. If asked, please select LEUKAEMIA CANCER SOCIETY as your reason for registering.
There are three registers in the UK: