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Step up and save a life

For six incredible years, Police Scotland and Anthony Nolan have been working in partnership to recruit more potential lifesavers to the stem cell donor register and raise vital awareness of the charity’s work.

'Without the important work of organisations like Police Scotland helping to spread the word about stem cell donation we may never have found a match for Ava. This partnership is giving hope to families like ours every day'. Marie, mum to Ava, who had a lifesaving stem cell transplant in 2016

For someone with blood cancer, an amazing stranger donating their stem cells could be their only chance of survival. To date, over 900 potential donors from Police Scotland have stepped up in the hope of being that amazing stranger, by joining the stem cell register.

And you can too.

If you come up as a match for a patient, you could one day be the donor who saves their life. Without you there, is no cure.

Who can join the register?

Only people aged 16-30 are able to join Anthony Nolan’s register. This is because our research shows us that younger donors provide the best long term survival outcomes for patients. We also particularly need more donors from minority ethnic backgrounds to make sure everyone has the best chance of surviving blood cancer, whatever their ethnicity.

Meet a Police Scotland lifesaver

It's hard to describe how it felt to be contacted and told that I was a potential match. I successfully donated my stem cells in February 2021. It's amazing to think of the potential impact my donation has had on someone's life.

David, Sgt with Police Scotland who donated his stem cells in 2021 

I'd say to any of my colleagues at Police Scotland, if you are willing to give up some of your own time if needed and want the chance to be able to offer a stranger with a blood disorder the chance of survival, then go for it!

David, Sgt with Police Scotland who donated his stem cells in 2021 

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. Aaron , who donated via PBSC, said: ‘When you’re actually on the bed donating, it doesn’t feel awkward or painful. It was quite relaxing to be honest, just sitting in the bed. The only thing is, you’re there for four hours – but four hours out of your life, to give someone the chance of life? It’s nothing. It’s more than worth it.’

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.’

What do donors say?

'The process was all so easy because it was all fitted around me. They fit it to when I was free and when I could get down there, and my employer said I could take any time off I needed' Carney donated his stem cells in 2019 

Where did it all begin?

In 2012, a young probationary Police Officer, Frazer McFadyen, was called upon to donate his stem cells while undergoing probationary training at Tulliallan. With the full support of the service and his tutors at the college, Frazer went on to donate and provide a second chance of life for a patient in need. 

Frazer found donating a incredibly positive, life affirming experience and identified the opportunity for Police Scotland and Anthony Nolan to join forces and save lives. The partnership was launched in 2015 and we haven’t looked back since. 

Over 30 or want to support in other ways?

If you’re unable to join the stem cell register or would like to support Anthony Nolan further, there are tons of other ways to get involved in our lifesaving work. Whether it’s a regular donation to the charity, running a marathon or volunteering, you can find your own way to help people with blood cancer.

If you’re aged 31+, your support can still save lives. Without you, there is no cure.