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Muse talks to Anthony Nolan and York Marrow

Muse talks to Anthony Nolan, York Marrow and a stem cell Donor about the importance of signing up to their donor register

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Image Credit: York Marrow

What is Anthony Nolan?
Anthony Nolan is a blood cancer charity that works to help improve and save the lives of people with blood cancer. We help three people in need of a lifesaving trans - plant every single day and there are over 2 000 people across the country that are still in need of a transplant each year. Therefore, we have to work to increase the number of people on the register, but we’re always try - ing to diversify the register to ensure that anyone in need of a lifesaving transplant, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, is able to find a match.

What is Marrow?
Marrow is a student-led branch of Anthony Nolan that recruit people to the register, fundraise for Anthony Nolan and spread awareness of the importance of stem cell donation. York Marrow is one of over 50 Marrow groups which collectively, since 1998, have signed up over 150 000 people onto the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. Of these, over 1 300 have gone onto donate their stem cells to a patient in need - that’s potentially 1,300 lives that have been saved! Not only has this incredible stranger impacted the patient’s life, but also the lives of the patient’s family, friends and network of people around them. That’s a pretty incredible society to be part of.

What is York Marrow and what have they done?
I’ve just checked the stats and York Marrow, through over 70 events , have recruited 2 643 potential donors onto the register and of these, 13 have gone to donate their stem cells.

How is it best to join the stem cell register?
Find us at an event! We advertise all of our donor recruitment events across cam - pus on our social media platforms, as well as posting why we do what we do. If you can’t make it to an event, you can sign up online using: anthonynolan.org/york - marrow, where the swab kit is sent to you. If you are over the age of 30, you can still sign up if you head over to dkms.org.uk.

How could someone get involved with volunteering for Anthony Nolan/ York Marrow?
People can get involved at any time throughout the year, just join our Face - book group ‘York Marrow Volunteers 2019- 2020’ and use it to let us know when you are available for an event! If you don’t have Facebook, you can join our mailing list by emailing marrow@yusu.org. If you haven’t been trained before, just let us know and we can train you on the day. There are so many great reasons to volunteer with York Marrow asides from the obvious goal of saving lives! You are a part of a national network of like- minded students that have the opportunity to go to regional and national conferences held by Anthony Nolan each year. Don’t have any time? Consider raising money for York Marrow through a challenge event! We currently have 3 committee members running the London Landmarks Half Marathon so email us if you want to join or have another event planned.

Are there any future events coming up which people should know about?
We have regular events around campus, details of which can be found on any of our social media. You will see our Marroween event on 1 November in Derwent Dining Hall (D-Bar) between 5:30-7:30. We are also planning some events during Hero Week (18-22 November) where we celebrate the amazing heroes that have gone on to donate by signing as many people to the register as possible! Head over to our social media to find out more.

The following Q&A was done by the Story Manager at Anthony Nolan with Dan who through the charity donated his stem cells and saved a life.

How did you feel when you were told you were a match for someone?
I was surprised that I was matched so quick. I knew not many people ever donate so the fact I was matched after just a few months was quite unusual. I was also excited to get the opportunity to help a stranger who’s been unfortunate enough to have to search the register.

What was the whole donation experience like? Was it what you expected?
It’s been such a great experience, the medical I had was just a few hours with the nurses who showed me the place I would donate and described the whole process, answering any questions or concerns that I had. A very friendly nurse came to my house to give injections to stimulate stem cell production at a convenient time and told me how significant the donation would be for the recipient. I donated via PBSC collection where I sat in a bed for a few hours on a dialysis machine while the cells were collected. The process was extremely easy and completely painless; it’s so little to do but it can make such a big difference to someone else. When you get told you’re a match it can seem like a lot of pressure but the Anthony Nolan team and the nurses at the hospital made sure the process went smoothly and that I was fully informed and looked after every step of the way.

What would you say to anyone thinking of signing up to the register?
It’s an amazing thing you can do for someone who really needs a match from the register. Signing up is quick and easy and can make such a difference to someone’s life.

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