​Anthony Nolan Hero Project - Stem Cell Transplant

Would you like to save the lives of others?

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer. For some of these patients a stem cell transplant is the only resort. Anthony Nolan is the worlds first ever charity based bone marrow registry aimed to provide stem cells. The charity, first founded in 1974 by Shirley Nolan works alongside NHS Blood and Transplant to provide life-saving support to these patients.

On Monday the 15th of January, Saadia Asmi, a volunteer from Anthony Nolan’s Hero Project visited Twyford to discuss and inform us of the urgent need for more blood, organ and stem cell donors. During this time she spoke about her own experiences of joining the registry.

Saadia explained that for blood donation, each day in the UK at least 6000 people are needed to donate blood to treat a wide variety of conditions such as sickle cell anaemia and leukaemia. Just by donating one unit of blood (~525 mL) a person can save as many as three adult or six paediatric lives.

In addition, she also talked about Anthony Nolan using its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients who are in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Rigorous testing and research is required. The matching is done based upon the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type; a minimum of 9 out of the 10 genes of the patients must match with the donor in order for the body of the recipient to accept the stem cells donated.

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you will be saving someone else.” Saadia concluded as the talk was coming to a close.

This event has helped me learn more about bone marrow and blood donation. Through it, I have been inspired to join the registry.

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