London is the city of late nights, every language on earth, ludicrous drinks prices – and it’s filled with potential lifesavers!
If you’re aged 16-30 and in good health, you can sign up to be a potentially lifesaving LONDONOR who’s ready and waiting to donate their stem cells to give someone with blood cancer a second chance of life.
Without you, there is no cure.
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.’
Find out what donating involves and check out the stories of two amazing LONDONORS below.
'It is a myth that the procedure of donating stem cells is painful, and it is a damaging myth at that.'
Jacob - stem cell donor
Jacob, stem cell donor - donated 2017
'My favourite things about London are the size of the city and the variety that brings; it feels like loads of cities rolled into one, and as a result it’s a proper mix of cultures and people. I’m still discovering new places to go and things to do, and yet at the same time it completely feels like home.
'My first introduction to Anthony Nolan and the work they do was through Marrow, a student group affiliated with the charity at my old university, Middlesex. When they put it as simply as 'By giving up a few hours you can save someone's life' - how could I say no to that? It just felt like such a simple and obvious thing to do. I couldn't have walked away from that without signing up.
'A couple of years after I’d signed up, I got a call to say I was a match! Donating my stem cells through Anthony Nolan was a very personal procedure for me; I lost my grandfather to cancer and helping someone who is in a similar position to his felt incredible.
'It is a myth that the procedure of donating stem cells is painful, and it is a damaging myth at that. There are so many other ways you can help this incredible charity, and if you are reading this I urge you to consider doing so!
'I feel so lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to do what I did. It feels amazing to know that I’ve been part of something that has had such a big impact on someone’s life, and a whole family really.'
Olivier, stem cell donor - donated 2012
'I came here to London to study and I immediately fell in love with the city and it is the first place that ever felt like home. I love how multicultural the city is and that there is always something new to try out.
'When I was asked to join the register I felt really flattered because I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m gay. It felt nice that I could help other people without being stigmatised.
'I received a letter to confirm I was a match and it reduced me to tears. It really hit me that I could save someone’s life by doing something so straightforward. I just happened to be walking past the campus that day, signed up and now I’ve given someone a second chance of life.
'I would tell anyone thinking of signing up to the register that it’s definitely worth doing. Anthony Nolan doesn’t discriminate. It’s a life changing experience and so fascinating. I don’t think I can ever really fully understand that I’ve saved someone’s life.'
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.
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 their 61st birthday.
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.