These days – being a bone marrow donor is nowhere near as scary or invasive as it once was. Stem cell technology has made it almost as easy as giving blood. But, and it’s a BIG BUT, not many people out there know much about it or even give it a thought. To be honest, I didn’t even think about it before – but the things I have found out this year have amazed me!
The Anthony Nolan Trust operates a register for bone marrow donors, but you must be between 16 and 30 to sign up. The NHS register is also available for people aged from 18 to 49. And now, Delete Blood Cancer takes registrations from donors between 17 – 55.
Here are some stats from Anthony Nolan:
- Every 20 minutes someone in the UK finds out they have a blood cancer.
- Around 1,800 people in the UK in need of a bone marrow transplant every year. This is usually their last chance of survival.
- 70% of patients won’t find a matching donor in their families. So they turn to us to find them an unrelated donor.
- White Northern Europeans have a 90% chance of finding a bone marrow donor. This falls to just 40% for people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.
- 90% of donations take place via peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. This is a procedure similar to giving blood. It takes around 5 hours, and is a simple outpatients procedure.
You can find out more at:
Alternatively, Delete Blood Cancer is a charity that was launched in the UK in February 2013. They will accept donor registrations between the ages of 17 and 55, so if you are interested in registering and thought you were too old take a look at their website to see if you qualify: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk
Just think, for just a few hours of your life, you give someone’s mum, dad, child, grandparent, brother, sister, their life back!