Leicester sportsmen and women and community figures have joined forces with local blood cancer survivor Rik Basra to back one of the biggest health drives Leicester has ever seen.
Yesterday, representatives from Leicester Mercury, BBC Radio Leicester, Sabras Radio, George of Asda, Leicestershire Police and Leicester Riders all signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register in front of Leicester Town Hall, to mark the launch of the #PassItOnLeicester campaign, which aims to ‘make Leicester a lifesaving city’.
Rik Basra (centre) and high profile supports launch the #PassItOnLeicester campaign (Photo credit - Leicester Mercury)
They were joined by high profile supporters Alan Birchenall, Leicester City Football Club Ambassador and former England international, former England and Leicester Tigers player Louis Deacon, Deputy Mayor Rory Palmer, Chief Constable Simon Cole, Jess Hickman England and Leicester Hockey player,Tyler Bernardini and Jamell Jackson from Leicester Riders, Surinderpal Rai Community Leader from GTB Gurdwara and Rachel Webb-Jenkins County Commissioner from Girlguiding Leicestershire, representing every corner of Leicester’s diverse and vibrant community.
The #PassItOnLeicester campaign, which will run throughout September to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month, will see 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.
The list of hosts includes an eclectic mix of organisations, including Leicester Tigers, Leicester City Football Club, Girlguiding Leicestershire, the Federation of Muslim Organisations, the Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, and dozens more.
As well as passing on the vital and lifesaving message that it’s easy to donate your stem cells, each organisation will proudly display the Pass It On flag during their event. When their event is finished they will pass this on to the next host, with each host devising a unique way to do this.
Rik and Kas Basra with the #PassItOnLeicester flag
Rik Basra says, “The variety of people we have standing here today outside our iconic Town Hall, joining the Anthony Nolan register or helping us fly the flag to recruit more donors, shows how people from all sides in Leicester and Leicestershire are backing this campaign.
We are immensely grateful to all of the organisations who are joining us in this mission to make Leicester the UK’s lifesaving city.”
Jennifer Johnstone from Leicester Mercury, says, “I couldn’t believe how easy it is to sign up to the register. I want to thank the Basra’s for bringing stem cell donation to our city’s attention and giving us the opportunity to save a life.
“It’s great to see Rik doing so well and inspiring so many local organisations to come together under the banner of Pass It On to save lives.”
Leicester Riders player Tyler Bernardini signing up to the register (Photo credit - Leicester Mercury)
Rory Palmer, Deputy Mayor of Leicester, “Leicester is coming together to save lives in Blood Cancer Awareness Month and I couldn’t be prouder of our city. From our sporting heroes to our local volunteers, every corner of the community is getting involved and raising awareness of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. Together, we can make Leicester the UK’s lifesaving city.”
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, but despite this, a bone marrow donor was found and Rik underwent a successful transplant.
Rik added: “It’s so important for us to raise awareness of how easy it is to join the register and to donate your stem cells. We want to find a match for everyone out there who needs a transplant, but this means we need the people of Leicester to come to our events in September and spread the word to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues – everyone! That is the essence of #PassItOnLeicester and how we can save lives together.”
L-R - Jennifer Johnstone, Thomas Smith, Jess Hickman, Sophie Cook signed up on the day & signing flag (Photo credit - Leicester Mercury)
For more information of how to get involved in the #PassItOnLeicester campaign go to www.anthonynolan.org/PassItOn.
The full calendar of #PassitOnLeicester events is below:
|Tuesday 1st Sept||8am to 5.30pm||Leicestershire Police|
|Wednesday 2nd Sept||8am to 5.30pm||BBC Radio Leicester|
|Thursday 3rd Sept||12pm to 3pm||Leicester Mercury|
|Friday 4th Sept||12pm to 3pm||George of Asda|
|Saturday 5th Sept||12.30pm to 4pm||Leicester Hockey Club|
|Sunday 6th Sept||11am to 5pm||Sabras Radio|
|Monday 7th Sept||9am to 5pm||East Midland Trains|
|Tuesday 8th Sept||1pm to 7pm||The Curve Theatre|
|Wed 9th Sept||12pm to 3pm||NHS Blood & Transplant|
|Thursday 10th Sept||11am to 3pm||Leicester City Council|
|Friday 11th Sept||12pm to 3pm||Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO)|
|Saturday 12th Sept||10am to 4pm||Leicester Cathedral|
|Sunday 13th Sept||11am to 4pm||East Midland Ambulance Service|
|Monday 14th Sept||10am to 6pm||Leicestershire County Cricket|
|Tuesday 15th Sept||10am to 5pm||Highcross Shopping Centre|
|Wednesday 16th Sept||11am to 4pm||Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service|
|Wednesday 16th Sept||4.30pm to 7.30pm||Leicester Progressive Synagogue|
|Thursday 17th Sept||8.30am to 2.30pm||Next|
|Friday 18th Sept||10am to 3pm||St Paul’s Catholic School|
|Saturday 19th Sept||9am to 4pm||Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 20th Sept||10am to 3pm||GTB Gurdwara - Community Centre|
|Monday 21st Sept||8am to 2.30pm||Fosse Business Breakfast Club|
|Wednesday 23rd Sept||10am to 5pm||Girlguiding Leicestershire|
|Thursday 24th Sept||10am to 5pm||The University of Leicester|
|Friday 25th Sept||10.30 to 2.30pm||Beauchamp College|
|Saturday 26th Sept||2pm to 6pm||Leicester City Football Club: Leicester v Arsenal - 12.45pm|
|Saturday 26th Sept||4pm to 7.30pm||Leicester Riders - 7pm|
|Sunday 27th Sept||10am to 3pm||Leicester Royal Infirmary|
|Monday 28th Sept||10am to 2pm||Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth 1st College|
|Tuesday 29th Sept||10am to 2pm||Regent College|
|Wednesday 30th Sept||8am to 2.30pm||De Montfort University|