[Periye Bisina | Contributing Writer]
Every year, there are 11,700 cases of lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system in the UK alone. It is the most common blood cancer in young people aged 15 to 24. For many of these patients, a stem cell transplant is their last hope of life. That’s where Marrow comes in.
Marrow is student group that is affiliated with Anthony Nolan, the UK Blood cancer charity. It was created in 1997 by a student at Nottingham University, James Kustow, who received the news that his childhood friend was diagnosed with leukaemia. Joining forces with his friends, James contacted Anthony Nolan and they organised a one-off recruitment event on campus, it was such a success that his fellow volunteers decided to put together a team to run frequent recruitment drives and raise greater awareness for years to come.
Today, there are Marrow groups in 40 different universities across the UK. Marrow was on campus on Tuesday 21st October providing information and asking for student to register as donors.
“We are here to get students to join and save a life” said Zoë, one of the representatives of Marrow. They set up a stall at the Forum Foyer and stopped those who cared to listen to try and persuade them that they should join and register.
“To sign up, you have to be aged 16-30 and then all you have to do is fill out a form and spit into a cup, then you’ll be able to donate till you’re 60 but there’s only a 1 in 1200 chance of you becoming a match,” said Zoe. Their DNA samples were then sent off to the Head Office so the donors could be matched with those that need it.
Many students were eager to donate and help, resulting in a lot of signups for Marrow. Students Zahoor and Cameron said that they were signing up to help people out. Bethany and Neha wanted to be donors so that they could add it to their ‘repertoire of donating’, because they were already blood donors. Sorwsh said he was donating, “because it could save a life.”
There were a lot of sceptics present too. Meghan said she was not sure as she was scared of the pain she might feel while doing it, but would probably consider it.
Another student said she wouldn’t donate due to the problems it could cause for yourself, “it’s like breaking your arm on purpose.” This scepticism was put to rest because according to Marrow, the only side effects donors might experience are mild flu-like symptoms such as headaches and pain in muscles and bones which usually disappear within 24 hours.
To find out more about being a donor, go to: anthonynolan.org/marrow
Originally published on 29/10/14
Correction made 31/10/14 (1 in 12000 chance)