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3 guys wearing the League of Lifesavers football kit

Lifesaving is a team sport

From Arsenal to York City, everyone has a football team that they are loyal to. But what if we all had a common goal in mind for a change – a goal to save more lives.​

It shouldn’t matter who you support or where you come from, what should matter is that patients with blood cancer or a blood disorder are given a second chance of life. 

One match can change everything.

If you have blood cancer, a stem cell donation could be your best chance of survival. But you can’t just receive stem cells from any donor – they need to be a good genetic match.

The Anthony Nolan register is a squad of 900,000 registered donors and it’s networked with other registers across the world. But, we can't find a match for everyone unless we keep building and diversifying the register.

The younger the donor the more likely we are to find a match and the more effective treatment can be. Young males actually provide 50% of all stem cell donations, and yet only make up 18% of the register. They are potential game changers.

So, the more people that join the League of Lifesavers, the more likely patients will find the lifesaving match they need.

Squad up, sign up, save lives.

90 minutes on the pitch. 10 minutes to save a life.

Here are the facts

  • You can join online! You’ll get a pack in the post for you to do your cheek swabs and send back. We’ll test your samples and add your information to the stem cell register.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 the squad say?

Brentford supporter, football fan, stem cell donor

'If you look at the number of football fans who regularly stand up for what’s right, we can come together to make a difference. I joined the League of Lifesavers because I learned that Anthony Nolan needs more people like me to join up so that the charity can make more matches and increase people's, likelihood of survival.

'Anyone can enjoy football no matter their gender, ethnicity or nationality. I think that's such a great thing – if we can make the stem cell register as diverse as the footballing community the more lifesaving matches could be made. You could sign up to the Anthony Nolan register and save the life of another fan at the end of the day,'

- Omar, Brentford Fan and on the League of Lifesavers

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.