Image: Herts Marrow Volunteers
[Amy Dodwell | Contributing Writer]
On 23rd November, Herts Marrow held a cake sale to help save the lives of people living with blood cancer.
The student-run branch of Anthony Nolan raised £312 in one cake sale during their Hero Week in the College Lane LRC. That is enough money to put three people on the Anthony Nolan stem cell and bone marrow register. It costs £100 to test each spit sample collected to determine the volunteers’ DNA type.
The organisation doesn’t only help to recruit stem cell donors; they also raise money for research into blood cancers and for lifesaving transfusion operations. It is incredibly difficult to find a match to a donor, as bone marrow is very specific; there could only be one match for someone in need in the whole world.
The President of Herts Marrow, Freya Kirk, stated:
“These funds are vital to what we do. The more people on the register, the better people’s chances are of finding a life-saving match!”
Their mission is to give every person at this University, and in the wider community, the chance to join the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.
As stated on the Anthony Nolan official website, a wide variety of people can join the donor register. You just need to make sure you are in good health, a UK resident, and aren’t overweight or underweight. It has been proven that 16-30 year olds make the best donors, making the organisation’s work even more important.
Haylie Cahill, one of their volunteers, said:
“Being a Herts marrow volunteer has a great feel good factor as you are always working as part of a team, not only at Herts uni but with uni’s across the nation to help change lives. […] I lost my uncle this year to lymphoma, so personally I have been impacted by blood cancer and appreciate how crucial it is that there are as many possible donors on the register.”
Freya Kirk said that “raising awareness is half the battle.” Herts Marrow spend as much time as possible on both campuses and are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in order to reach as many people as they can.
Despite only being a year old, the group has had continued success. Their biggest achievement was raising £360 by selling glow sticks at The Forum on 30th October for Halloween (aka Marroween). As the group’s president says, “we just keep getting better.”
Marrow is not specific to UH; there are branches in 48 universities. 28 per cent of all stem cell donors at Anthony Nolan are recruited by Marrow groups and they raise £145,000 every year.