Durham Marrow: Be a Match, Save a Life

Stem cell donation gives those with blood and bone disorders a second chance

Saving lives has never been so easy when you sign onto the marrow register. Durham Marrow, along with other university groups across the country, is a branch of the Anthony Nolan Foundation. They strive to find donors for the stem cell register, so that those suffering from otherwise incurable blood and bone disorders can have another chance at life.

In the UK someone is told that they have blood cancer every 20 minutes, according to statistics from the Anthony Nolan website. As a society we aim to recruit as many people to be potential life savers as possible. To do this we organise Save A Life Sessions in and around university to spread awareness of the charity but to also sign people up to the stem cell register. So what does joining the register involve? When joining Anthony Nolan’s stem cell register all you have to do is make sure you meet the criteria, fill out a form and spit in a tube – it really is as easy as that! By joining it means that you could potentially be a match for a person in need and go on to donate your stem cells. If you join through Marrow there is a 1 in 100 chance that you would be a match and then go on to donate. If you are one of those lucky people who could be a potential life saver then there are 2 ways that you could go on to donate. The first is called peripheral blood stem cell collection, which nearly 90% of donors do. The other 10% would go on to donate their bone marrow. If you are interested in finding out more about these methods you can find more details here: http://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells/you’re-match-what-happens-next.

The other half of the work we do is to raise as much money as possible for the cause because it costs Anthony Nolan over £100 to sign up a single donor! This also means when we recruit people to sign the register we need to make sure that these people will go on to donate and are serious about donating and potentially saving lives. We hold many events throughout the year to do this including many cake sales and rag raids.

However, being a student lead charity we have a lot of fun in the process. Once a year we hold a Marrow strip, in which students volunteer to put together a number of strip routines. We have just had this event which was a massive success and we raised over £2000 in one night! If you are interested in stripping or coming to one of arguably the best nights of the year then keep a listen out at the beginning of the next academic year. We also do the amazing Durham Marrow naked calendar, with months showing off rugby teams to Medics. It is a must buy if you haven’t already done so.

If you want to get even more involved with Durham Marrow then you are able to join as a volunteer. We are always looking for people to get involved, whether it is to help out at Save A Life Sessions to recruit people to join the stem cell register or to bake cakes for our many cake sales. It is hugely rewarding to know that you can help Anthony Nolan save people’s lives but it also enables you to meet many new people, as well as looking great on your CV. If you are interested in helping out then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email or Facebook. Alternatively you can request to join our volunteer page to keep up to date with all the opportunities you can help at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/753438361359410/.

This academic year alone, we have already signed up nearly 200 potential life savers, hopefully meaning that 2 people will go on to donate. We run regular recruitment sessions throughout the year, our next one being in Butler College on Sunday 25th January at 5.30–6.30pm before the JCR meeting. We are currently in talks with holding a massive session in Maiden Castle one Wednesday afternoon in March so please keep your eyes out for this and make sure you come to find out more and spit in a tube to sign up!

Take a look at our Twitter and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DurhamMarrow and @DurhamMarrow) to see when we are next at your college, or join the register now at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells/apply-join-our-register.

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