Posted: Thu 3rd Mar 2016

Could you be a lifesaving stem cell donor?

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 3rd, 2016

In late September, Vithiya Alphons had just started back at the University studying Optometry, after a busy summer volunteering in Japan and Moldova. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

However, just days into her final year, the third year Optometry student was given the shattering news that she had an aggressive form of leukaemia. Vithiya is in need of a stem cell donor match within the next two months. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are many people across the UK waiting to find a lifesaving donor match. You can be added to the register with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, by filling out a form at www.anthonynolan.org. They will then send out a ‘Spit Kit’ for you to return, you just have to be 16-30 and in good health to become a lifesaver. Whenever a UK patient with blood cancer or a blood disorder needs a lifesaving stem cell transplant, Anthony Nolan will search the worldwide registers, looking for someone who’s a genetic match for that patient. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Jonathan T. Erichsen, Vithiya’s Personal Tutor, said: “Vithiya is a delightful and popular young woman who has a bright future ahead of her in her chosen career as an Optometrist. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“All of us wish Vithiya a speedy recovery and look forward to having her back with us here in the School.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: “Vithiya is a bright and inspirational young woman and somewhere out there, there’s a potential lifesaver who could give her a lifeline by donating their stem cells. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We are so grateful to Vithiya for raising awareness of the need for more Asian and ethnic minority donors, and for busting the myth that donating stem cells is painful. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Joining the Anthony Nolan register just involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample. If you’re one of the privileged few who goes onto donate, 90% of the time this will now take place via an outpatient appointment which is similar to donating blood.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Anthony Nolan and NHS Blood and Transplant are working closely together to recruit more black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) donors to the aligned Registries. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If you’re age 16-30, you can join the Anthony Nolan register at www.anthonynolan.org ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If you’re age 17-55 you can join the Delete Blood Cancer register at www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Alternatively, to be tested to see if you are a match you can organise an appointment through Welsh Blood, there are sessions coming up in the next few weeks across various locations in Cardiff where you can attend for a blood test. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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