Rik Basra and Anthony Nolan charity team up to launch #PassItOnLeicester campaign
Former Leicester City players Gary Lineker and Emile Heskey are backing a new campaign from local blood cancer survivor Rik Basra. The aim is to build on Leicester’s growing reputation as a ‘lifesaving city’ by raising awareness of the Anthony Nolan register.
The #PassItOnLeicester campaign, which will run throughout September to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month, will see every corner of the Leicester and Leicestershire community uniting to save lives.
Thirty-one companies and community groups will team up with the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign to host donor recruitment drives and awareness events throughout September, one on each day of the month, to pass on the vital and lifesaving message that it’s easy to donate your stem cells.
Emile Heskey says, ‘Last year I was lucky enough to attend the donor drive with Rik in Leicester, when over 1,000 local people signed up to the Anthony Nolan register in one day. It was an amazing example of what can be achieved if we all come together and I felt so proud of our lifesaving city.
‘That’s why I’m so excited to hear about Rik’s new Pass it On campaign, which is even more ambitious than last year. Every corner of the Leicestershire community has got behind it and I hope this inspires a new generation of lifesavers.’
The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign hosted a ‘Race to 1000’ event last year and successfully recruited 1,000 young Leicester locals to the Anthony Nolan register. Now with a little help from local celebrities they are hoping to build on this success.
Emile and Rik at an event in Leicester
There will be plenty of surprises in store for the people of Leicester, according to Rik, with each host planning their own creative and eye-catching awareness drive in September.
The 31 hosts and the details of their events are under wraps for now, but Rik has hinted at the involvement of some of the city’s most high profile organisations’.
Gary Lineker says, ‘Rik Basra and the charity Anthony Nolan are doing fantastic work to tackle blood cancer in Leicester and Leicestershire. Now it’s up to us to help raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register and how easy it is to join. Together, we can all be Leicester lifesavers by signing up and spreading the word – so pass it on!’
He added: ‘There are so many myths surrounding bone marrow, or stem cell, donation. It isn’t a painful or invasive procedure - it’s improved so much that now in the vast majority of cases it’s just like giving blood but sadly awareness has lagged behind. Trust me, I’ve had more painful tackles in my career!’
The month of September is particularly important for Rik and his family, it was in September 2011 that Rik was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia for a second time. After this diagnosis, he was told he needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. The odds of finding a donor were stacked against him due to the lack of Asian donors, despite this a bone marrow donor was found and Rik underwent a successful transplant.
Rik Basra says, ‘September is a big month for us as a family and thanks to my donor I’m here to celebrate with them. But I’m one of the lucky ones, there are so many people out there who haven’t got a match and that’s why we need to get more young lifesavers on the register.
‘We’ve had great responses from the good people of Leicester and Leicestershire in the past but we want to go one better this year. Everyone has a role to play in this campaign, we want everyone to spread the word about how easy it is to join the register and save a life – that’s what #PassItOnLeicester is all about. I can’t wait for the people of Leicester and Leicestershire to see what’s in store.’
If you are aged 16-30 and in good health you can join the Anthony Nolan register by clicking on the button below:
For more information of how to get involved in the #PassItOnLeicester campaign go to www.anthonynolan.org/PassItOn