Last week, student volunteers in universities across London recruited hundreds of young Londoners to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.
The week-long campaign, ‘Londonors’, which ran from Monday 28th January to Friday 1st February, was spearheaded by ‘Marrow’, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network, which operates in seven universities across the capital.
‘Londonors’ set out to highlight and celebrate the diversity of London, and there was a particular focus on recruiting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and therefore provides the perfect opportunity to register a large number of potential donors, from a mix of backgrounds, heritages and communities.
It’s more difficult for patients from these backgrounds to find a donor with a matching tissue type, as they make up a smaller portion of the UK population and the Anthony Nolan register broadly reflects this. Only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match, and this drops dramatically to around 20%, if you're from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.
Since September, stem cell donors recruited by Marrow have accounted for 30% of all people who have donated, meaning the student volunteers are a vital part of the work of Anthony Nolan. This academic year, Marrow is also celebrating 20 years of students saving lives and the 130,000 potential lifesavers they have recruited to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register since 1998.
Aisling Cohn, Youth Programmes Senior Manager at Anthony Nolan said: ‘Last week, it was great to see our London Marrow volunteers working together to sign up hundreds of ‘Londonors’, ready to give a second chance of life to someone in desperate need of a stem cell transplant.
‘Our Marrow groups work hard throughout the year, alongside their degrees, to build and diversify our register, so that we’re able to provide the best match to even more people with blood cancer. They really are heroes.’