British Indian MP leads community drive to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month

British Indian MP leads community drive to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September,UK's Opposition Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma?used a digital “Day of Action” this week to celebrate the number of potential life-saving stem cell donors in Ealing Southall area of west London on the Anthony Nolan register and raise awareness of the urgent need for more donors in light of the challenges to donor recruitment presented by the pandemic.

As part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, the Anthony Nolan charity aims to shine a spotlight on vital work being done locally to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor. In Ealing Southall, 939 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan - with 23 per cent?of these donors being men aged 16-30, and the average age is 36. In total, more than 800,000 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.

Donor shortage

Sharma, the veteran Indian-origin MP for Ealing Southall, is encouraging more people from the area,particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) 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 18 per cent of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Sharma said: “I am very proud that Ealing Southall has 939, any one of whom could offer the only chance of giving someone with blood cancer 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.”

Transplant journeys

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 939'selfless people from Ealing Southall?joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer, and blood disorders, in need of matching stem cell donors.

“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. To everyone from Ealing Southall?who has taken the decision to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 joining the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”

by Nadia Hatink

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