When Lamar Roberts found a letter from his late mum telling him to pursue his basketball dream, he was determined to do a lot more. Now, he's a pro-basketballer by day and lifesaver by… well, always. Watch his inspiring story above.
For someone with blood cancer, an amazing stranger donating their stem cells could be their best chance of survival.
Just like Lamar, if you sign up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register and one day come up as a genetic match, you could be that amazing stranger!
Right now, there's a shortage of young men on the register. They provide more than 55% of all stem cell donations, but make up just 16% of the register. We need more young men aged 16-30 to sign up and help save more lives.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
- You can join online! You’ll get a pack in the post for you to do a cheek swab and send back. We’ll test your sample and add your information to the stem cell register.
- You’ll stay on the register until you’re the grand age of 61. If you ever come up as a match for someone with blood cancer, we’ll be in touch.
- We’ll organise the whole thing. We support you at every stage of your donation and arrange everything, from travel to accommodation. We've got it all covered.
- There are two ways you might be asked to donate:
90% of people donate via their bloodstream in a straightforward process, called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. Joe, who donated via PBSC, said ‘I was hooked onto the machine for around 4/5 hours so it’s pretty boring! Afterwards I felt pretty tired as you would expect, but felt really good that I had done something good for someone.’
10% have their stem cells collected via their bone marrow while under general anaesthetic. After Donna’s donation, she said ‘Bone marrow donating done! I can honestly say it has been an amazing and surprisingly pain-free experience (I am a wimp!). Knowing I’ve given someone a second chance at life is such a fantastic feeling.’
WHAT DO REAL DONORS SAY?
Every year, hundreds of Anthony Nolan donors get the call to say they’re a match, and they have some amazing stories to tell:
WATCH OUR DONATION ANIMATION
This animation takes you through a lifesaving journey - from getting the call if you come up as a genetic match for someone in need of a transplant, to the step by step process of donating your stem cells through your bloodstream or bone marrow.
Find out more about the face of the campaign
Why do you have to be aged between 16 and 30 to join the register?
Statistics show that young people are more likely to be chosen as donors in lifesaving transplants, and our research has shown that younger donors lead to better survival rates in patients.
Of course, people over 30 can make excellent donors too, and that’s why we ask people to stay on our register until they’re 60.
In addition, it costs £40 to add each donor to our register. As a charity with limited resources, we need to focus on recruiting the people most likely to be chosen as donors.
Why do you need more young men to join the register?
We’re grateful to have both men and women aged 16-30 on our register.
However, young men aged 16-30 provide over 55% of donations, but they make up only 16% of the register.
Why do you have to be willing to donate your stem cells in two different ways?
Nearly 90% of people give their stem cells through peripheral blood stem cell collection. This is a simple process, similar to donating blood.
However, in some situations and for some conditions, a patient will need stem cells from bone marrow. If that’s the case, we’ll ask you to donate bone marrow from your pelvis, which a doctor will take using a needle and syringe under general anaesthetic.
Do you need to join the Anthony Nolan register if you've already joined another stem cell register?
No. You only need to be on one register as every time a patient needs a transplant, their hospital will contact Anthony Nolan and we will search all the potential donors in the UK and around the world to find a match.
If you're not eligible to join the register, don't worry - there're plenty of other amazing ways you can support our work and help save lives.
You could run a marathon, go skydiving, volunteer with us, or even lobby your local MP on behalf of people with blood cancer and blood disorders in desperate need. Take a look here for more details.