Register & Be a Lifesaver
Launches in Bristol
Teenagers in Bristol are among the first in the country to
be invited to sign up for bone marrow donation.
The city has been chosen by the Anthony Nolan Trust for a
pilot scheme that encourages young people to consider giving
blood, bone marrow or organs.
The Register & Be a Lifesaver campaign was launched at
Cotham School's sixth form this week.
It was inspired by Adrian Sudbury, who spent his last months
before his death from leukaemia, at the age of 27, calling
for better education and information for young people on the
importance of bone marrow donation. His Baldy's Blog caught
the attention of Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan
Johnson, both of whom Adrian met.
Adrian's mum Kay Sudbury told the sixth-formers her son's
life had been prolonged for more than a year after he
received a bone marrow transplant.
She has now taken on her son's mission to dispel myths and
misconceptions about the process so that teenagers can make
an informed choice.
Mrs Sudbury was backed by Bristolian David Gate, whose
15-year-old stepdaughter Yvette has been waiting for a donor
Yvette, a pupil at Redland High School, has aplastic anaemia
and Mr Gate said yesterday: " She is on borrowed time. She
has to have platelet donations every week to 10 days and red
blood transfusions every four to six weeks. There is no one
on any register worldwide who is a match for her at the
moment.The students heard that 400,000 people are on the
Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register, including 3,244 from
Gate said Bristol had been chosen for the pilot project
because of its racially diverse population. There is a
particular shortage of donors from some minority ethnic
backgrounds, which has made finding a match for Yvette, who
is of African-Caribbean background, particularly difficult.
Teenagers are being targeted because 17 is the age at which
they can start giving blood and can register as organ
donors, often when they apply for a driving licence, but
anyone aged 18 to 40 can join the Bone Marrow Register.
Those who sign up will be required to give a teaspoonful of
blood. If they are found to be a match for someone, giving a
donation takes three to four hours. Blood is taken from one
arm, the stem cells are harvested and then the blood
returned to the other arm.
Other Bristol schools and colleges, signed up to the
campaign are Merchants' Academy, Brislington Enterprise
College, North Bristol Post 16 Centre at Redland, and St
Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.
Further details can be found on
Conlan Murphy, 16, said that although he had a friend who
had leukaemia, he had only a vague idea about the illness
and its treatment before hearing the talks and viewing the
films, He said: "I realise after this that my friend is
still here because of people who were willing to give blood
or maybe bone marrow. Perhaps I could do the same for
someone else. "
George Sweet, 17, said that although his brother worked for
the Blood and Transplant Service in Bristol he had not
realised what was involved in bone marrow donation. "I
thought it would be more painful," he said.