Martin Whitfield MSP took part in an event at Holyrood last week to celebrate Scottish people on the Anthony Nolan stem cell register and raise awareness of the urgent need to diversify the register.
The day was marked by Anthony Nolan, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on the vital work being done to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.
MSPs were joined by Cameron, the 100th person to donate their stem cells after being recruited to the register by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). 20-year-old Cameron, a volunteer on-call firefighter, spoke in detail with attendees about his experience of donating earlier this year.
In total, more than 100,300 people in Scotland are on the Anthony Nolan register, including more than 10,600 in the South Scotland region. Any of the people on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder and be asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.
Now, Martin Whitfield MSP is encouraging more people aged 16-30, particularly men and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and help increase the chances that the best possible match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, young men are most likely to be asked to donate.
They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the UK register. There is also a need for more donors from minority ethnic backgrounds; having a wide range of ethnicities on the charity’s stem cell register is vital to ensure everyone has the best chance of survival.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“I am very proud to support Anthony Nolan and celebrate Scotland’s potential lifesavers, any one of whom could offer someone with blood cancer a second chance of life. Registering to become a stem cell donor is straightforward and could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.”
Henny Braund MBE, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said:
“In the last year over 3,200 amazing people in Scotland joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer and blood disorders in need of matching stem cell donors. To everyone from who has decided to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 and those from a minority ethnic background to join the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”
For more information on Anthony Nolan please visit www.anthonynolan.org/join.