Anthony Nolan is embarking on a partnership with the Round Table to raise awareness of the need for young male stem cell donors.
The partnership will reach out to young men aged 16-30 and encourage them to sign up as potential stem cell or bone marrow donors.
Young men are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 15% of the donor register; many more are needed to ensure that everyone in need of a transplant can find a match.
With 400 clubs in the UK involving thousands of men aged 18-45, the Round Table is a natural partner to deliver the message about stem cell donation to more young men around the country.
The partnership is even more special as it launches 30 years after the Round Table supported Anthony Nolan by recruiting an astounding 100,000 donors in just six weeks. The 1986 campaign, which was supported by actress Pauline Collins, more than doubled the number of donors on the register and has helped facilitate countless lifesaving transplants.
One such lifesaver is 55-year-old retired fire fighter Graeme Bowser from Tyne and Wear. Graeme joined the register in 1986 at a recruitment event organised by the Round Table and went on to donate stem cells to a patient in Australia in 2003.
‘I have been a blood donor since I was 18 so needles don’t bother me,’ said Graeme. ‘The whole process took five hours and was totally painless. I received an update afterwards informing me that the donation arrived safely in Australia and was successfully transferred to the recipient.’
The donor register has since become even more important to Graeme as his granddaughter, six-year-old Chloe Gray, has a rare blood disorder and is in need of a stem cell transplant.
‘It’s quite emotional after having donated and knowing I saved someone’s life on the other side of the world to now be in the same position as that person’s family was 13 years ago,’ said Graeme.
‘It’s so simple to sign up and donate and change someone’s life forever.’
Mark House, National President of Round Table, is urging young men to get involved. ‘Round Table clubs were instrumental in getting Anthony Nolan to where it is today and as a young man’s organisation I hope we can encourage more young men to join the donor register.’
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘We’re delighted to restart our lifesaving partnership with the Round Table. We urgently need more people, especially young men, to join the register. What many people don’t realise is how simple it is to join the stem cell register – it involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample. For those who go on to donate, about 90% will donate through peripheral blood stem cell collection. This is a straightforward process similar to giving blood, carried out as an outpatient procedure, where you can potentially save the life of a person in desperate need of a transplant.’
Events will be running at Round Table clubs nationally. To find an event happening near you, visit https://www.roundtable.co.uk/get-in-touch.