This week, student volunteers in universities across London are attempting to recruit hundreds of young Londoners to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.
The week-long campaign, ‘Londonors’, which launches today (Monday 28th January), is being spearheaded by ‘Marrow’, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network, which operates in seven universities across the capital.
Currently, over 109,000 Londoners are registered as potential stem cell donors on the Anthony Nolan register, ready to give a second chance to someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder needing a lifesaving transplant.
The ‘Londonors’ campaign will seek to highlight and celebrate the diversity of London, and there will also be a particular focus on recruiting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. It’s more difficult for patients from BAME backgrounds to find a donor with a matching tissue type. Only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match, and this drops dramatically to around 20%, if you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background. Students across London want to change this.
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 the work of Anthony Nolan.
Doug Mbang, 26, from Woolwich (pictured) joined the register seven years ago and is one of the many people who’ve signed up through Marrow.
Doug said: ‘At a Marrow event, they told me that there aren’t as many donors on the register from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. That got me to sign up immediately.
‘Cancer is something that can affect anybody at any point in their life. 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.
‘It feels absolutely amazing to know that doing this could change someone’s life. When you think about saving a life, it’s not just their life that’s important – it’s their friends and family too, everyone who’s part of that person’s life.’
Anyone aged 16-30 and in relatively good health can join the Anthony Nolan register. To find out more about Anthony Nolan and the Londonors campaign, visit at www.anthonynolan.org/londonors