A Sheffield stem cell donor has shared his story, in an effort to dispel the myth that donation is painful.
Sheffield University student Sammy Edris, aged 21, donated his stem cells in September 2014 after hearing about the process from his mum, a hurse.
Sammy said: “Before I joined the register, my mum explained it all to me - how easy and important it is. There was literally nothing for me to lose from signing up, but the other person has everything to gain.
“When I was donating I met a guy who was receiving a transplant the same day and on behalf of everyone he thanked me in tears. It was an incredible moment and it made it sink in about what I was really doing. I suddenly realised, wow, it’s a pretty cool thing to do - and all I had to do was sit there.
“I had a chance to save a life – you don’t get many chances to do something this good. I didn’t go out in Freshers’ Week because of my donation, but this was worth a lot more than few nights out.”
Someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every 20 minutes and, for many of these people, a stem cell transplant is their last chance. The problem is, not enough men are signing up to the Anthony Nolan register.
Men aged 16-30 are by far the most in demand as stem cell donors, and are 3.5 times more likely than average to donate once they join the register – but worryingly, they make up only 15 per cent of the register.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Sadly the numbers clearly don’t add up and we desperately need more young men in the Yorkshire and Humberside region to join the register.”
Visit www.anthonynolan.org/MarchoftheMen for details on signing up.