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#PassItOnLeicester - recruiting Leicester lifesavers in September 2015

Since receiving a stem cell transplant on Christmas Eve 2011, police inspector Rik Basra has done some truly incredible things to raise lifesaving awareness on behalf of Anthony Nolan.

And this year, he’s running his biggest, boldest campaign yet – #PassItOnLeicester, a month-long recruitment drive in his hometown as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, with the welcome help of some brilliant organisations and businesses. In this blog, Rik writes about his story and some of the events taking place.

We’ve run many events in the local community over the past few years – and amazingly, Leicester and Leicestershire are now second only to London for stem cell donor recruitment in the whole UK!

This year, we wanted to do something really memorable that would raise awareness and give even more people the chance to join in. So 31 iconic local groups and organisations are going to help us do just that.

We feel Pass It On is a genuinely groundbreaking campaign; by the end of it many more people will know just how easy it is to save a life, and I’m confident many will take that all important step and sign up.

Pass It On has been a year in the planning, and there has been a great deal of preparatory work by all those involved, including our partners. It’s a genuine joint effort by so many. We’re all very excited and looking forward to a fun-packed month.

Each and every event will be special; the plans which hosts have for their events are so unique and individual that each day will be so different. I want to savour every moment!

Leicestershire Police support #PassItOnLeicester

The first event is taking place at Leicestershire Police Headquarters – I was diagnosed with leukaemia while a serving police inspector. I’ve received absolutely amazing support from Leicestershire Police throughout my journey.

They’ve not only supported me personally, but have been an ever-present supporter of the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign; indeed, they were instrumental in helping form it, as part of a desperate effort by them to find a lifesaving donor for me.

That’s something that I will never forget, so it was always my firm wish that they’d take pride of place and host the very first event of Pass It On.

Rik and Kas Basra on the first day of #PassItOnLeicester

I’ve been absolutely blown away by the support and sheer enthusiasm of all those supporting the campaign.

The ideas have been so imaginative and creative – and more importantly, people have rolled up their sleeves and made their ideas a reality. As local people find out more, I hope they’ll want to get involved too.

Raising awareness of all of Anthony Nolan's work

Pass It On has many aims for the month ahead; we want to raise awareness of the many strands of work undertaken by Anthony Nolan.

Not just stem cell donor recruitment, but also other lesser-known but nevertheless important workstreams; for example, the set-up and operation of cord banks in the UK.

Rik with his Point Of Light volunteering award from the Prime Minister, given to him in recogntion of his "incredible dedication" in signing up new potential donors

Of course, we also want to show just how easy it is to save a life and enthuse the local community to get involved (and have a lot of fun too). Blood cancer devastates lives, and many feel absolutely helpless before it, but Pass It On gives everyone a chance to fight back.

To somebody who’s considering signing up, I would say, ‘don’t think about it…do it!’ Saving a life really is so easy. Advances in modern medicine have made it so easy to register and to donate.

Take part in #PassItOnLeicester

We have 31 events, and many are open to the public. [See the full list here on the Anthony Nolan website]

Look out for one, and if you’re 16–30 you can sign up; it takes just a few minutes. If you’re outside the age range, you can still get involved, volunteer, or tell others. Pass It On is about raising awareness, so spread the word and pass on what you’ve learnt!

To learn more about #PassItOnLeicester, follow the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign on Twitter or visit their website.

If you're aged 16–30 and would like to sign up as a stem cell donor online, click on the button below: