Students celebrate 20 years of lifesaving

Volunteers from Sheffield university are celebrating 20 years of students saving lives with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan – and the remarkable 9,335 potential stem cell donors recruited to the UK stem cell register.

‘Marrow’ is the name for Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network. Over the last 17 years the Sheffield Marrow has held over 200 events to raise awareness of the work that Anthony Nolan does to support families and patients with blood cancer. Over 80 students recruited through these Marrow events have gone on to donate stem cells to patients while, on average, people have around a 1 in 800 chance of being asked to donate stem cells or bone marrow in the next five years.

Marrow students also aim to recruit potential donors from a range of backgrounds to help provide hope for patients from minority and ethnic backgrounds. Patients from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds have just a 20 per cent chance of finding the best possible matching stem cell donor compared to 69 per cent of patients from north European backgrounds.

Rachel Sheard, a fourth year medicine student, and president of Sheffield Marrow, said, “Since Sheffield Marrow began in 2003 we have recruited over 13,000 people to the stem cell register. One in 100 people that we sign up, go on to donate and save a life, that’s what makes volunteering with marrow to support the work that Anthony Nolan does to save lives of people with blood cancer so amazing and unique. Marrow is also a great way to meet a lovely and fun bunch of people.

‘’So far this year we’ve already signed up 506 people to the register by visiting student unions, gyms, libraries, campus societies and sports events. We are excited about celebrating 20 years of saving lives and look forward to another 20 years of Marrow.’’

Marrow groups operate in over 55 UK universities, and have recruited more than 130,000 people since 1998.

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