Praise for ‘selfless’ local stem cell donors

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Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has praised the higher than average amount of people in Argyll and Bute registered as stem cell donors.

Argyll and Bute has the most stem cell donors on the register in the Highlands and Islands, and has the fifth highest donor rate in the country.

Michael Russel MSP. Photo by Peter Dibdin.

Michael Russel MSP. Photo by Peter Dibdin.

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September MSP Michael Russell collected a certificate on behalf of Argyll and Bute from the charity at a reception recently in the Scottish Parliament.

This achievement is being celebrated by Anthony Nolan as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign – shining a spotlight on the vital work being done at a local level to ensure every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.

In Argyll and Bute, 1807 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan.

In total, more than 700,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.

Mr Russell is encouraging more people from Argyll and Bute, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant.

While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50 per cent of donations yet make up just 16 per cent of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Mr Russell said: “I am very proud that Argyll and Bute has so many people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure. I strongly hope that more people from our community will be inspired to sign up and show that together, we can provide a cure for blood cancer.”

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Since 1974 thousands of caring, selfless people have joined the Anthony Nolan register and thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. It’s wonderful to have the support of Argyll and Bute in achieving our goal of saving and improving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.”