To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine attended a reception in Holyrood, to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in South Scotland on the Anthony Nolan register.
This achievement was marked by Anthony Nolan on Thursday 19 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 South Scotland, 9238 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 20%of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 35.
In total, more than 760,000 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.
Now, Joan McAlpine is encouraging more people from Dumfries and Galloway, 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.
Ms. McAlpine also had the chance to meet with representatives of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) including Ally Boyle. Ally initiated a ground-breaking partnership with Anthony Nolan in 2009, while he was Area Commander of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, after being diagnosed with myelodysplasia (a type of blood cancer). They have recruited thousands of lifesavers to the register, predominantly through their innovative SFRS Education Programme, which sees SFRS volunteers deliver inspiring educational presentations about stem cell, blood and organ donation to 16- to 18-year-olds across Scotland.
Joan McAlpine MSP said: “I am very proud that South Scotland has 9238 registered 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.
“I would especially like to commend the great work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in engaging local communities, particularly secondary schools across Scotland. They’ve recruited more than fifty people who have gone on to donate. Their steadfast commitment over the past ten years has had a truly lifesaving impact.”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 9238 selfless people from South Scotland 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 Dumfries and Galloway 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.”
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.
For more information about the charity, please call the Anthony Nolan press office on0207 424 1300or firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent out of hours media enquiries, call 07881 265 285.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Attached is a picture of Joan McAlpine and a representative from SFRS at the event in the Scottish Parliament
About Anthony Nolan
Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer. The charity uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer and blood disorder patients in need of stem cell transplants. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients through their transplant journeys. Every day Anthony Nolan gives three people a second chance at life. Find out more atwww.anthonynolan.org
Note to sub editors
Please note that Anthony Nolan changed its name in 2001 and is no longer known as Anthony Nolan Trust.
What is a stem cell transplant?
If a patient has a condition that affects their bone marrow or blood, then a stem cell transplant may be their best chance of survival. Doctors will give new, healthy stem cells to the patient via their bloodstream, where they begin to grow and create healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
About 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a donor every year
90% of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood
We need more young men to sign up, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 18% of the register
We need more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to sign up. Only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match. This drops dramatically to around 20% (one in five of transplant recipients) if you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.
Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK and the third biggest cancer killer. It accounts for 9% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK.
It costs £40 to add each new donor to the register so we always need financial support
To join the Anthony Nolan register, you must be 16-30 and healthy. Anthony Nolan’s world-leading Research Institute has shown younger donors offer better survival rates for patients.
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