To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, I am taking part in a digital ‘Day of Action’ to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in Carshalton and Wallington on the Anthony Nolan register and raise awareness of the urgent need for more donors in light of the challenges to donor recruitment presented by the pandemic.
This day was marked by Anthony Nolan on Wednesday 9 September, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on vital work being done locally to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.
In Carshalton and Wallington, 1149 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 21 of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 38.
In total, more than 800,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.
I'm encouraging more people from Carshalton and Wallington, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.
I am very proud that Carshalton and Wallington has 1149 donors, any one of whom could offer the only chance of giving someone with blood cancer a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 1149 selfless people from Carshalton and Wallington joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer, and blood disorders, in need of matching stem cell donors.
“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. To everyone from Carshalton and Wallington who has taken the decision to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 joining the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”
For more information on Anthony Nolan visit anthonynolan.org/join.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.