Jack Petchey Foundation
If you think you can, you can!

Success at the 'Give a spit save a life' launch

Zahra, 21, is an English Language graduate from Waltham Forest, who rose to the challenge of reporting on the event and producing the fantastic article below.

On 1st October Anthony Nolan made history by being the first bone marrow register in the world to allow 16-17 year olds to join.

A special recruitment event was held on Tuesday 9th October at West Ham Football Club for 16 and 17 year olds to become some of the youngest people in the country to join the register.

Anthony Nolan and the Jack Petchey Foundation have been working together since 2011 to raise awareness and encourage young people to join the register. The Jack Petchey Foundation joined Anthony Nolan at the recruitment event to help launch the new 16-30 age change. Jack Petchey said at the event: “It is important for young people to join for two reasons; firstly you are helping other people. Secondly, you are helping yourself by learning to give back, which is an important attitude to have”.

Ann O’Leary from Anthony Nolan said: “Younger people are more successful matches. Lowering the age means that more lives can be saved”. In the first week of 16 and 17 year olds being able to register a massive 740 people made online applications to register (compared with 215 people normally) and 73% were between 16 and 22. The launch day saw even more 16 and 17 year olds registering to become blood and bone marrow donors.

The first to sign up on the day was 16 year old Callum from St Bonaventure’s School in Newham. Callum never knew anything about becoming a donor before the launch day but was eager to sign up after he found out more information. Callum says: “Do it cause your saving someone’s life”.

Young men are particularly good matches and West Ham Football Club offered their support to try to get more young men from a diverse range of backgrounds onto the register. Ross Williams, a mentor and sports coach with West Ham Community Sports Trust, said: “I joined because of the fact that if I was in that situation I would want someone to help so why not do it the other way round and donate”. People from ethnic minority backgrounds only have a 40% chance of finding a successful match so more people joining from diverse backgrounds will result in more lives being saved.

Anthony Nolan are a pioneering charity who set up the world’s first bone marrow register  in 1974 and now, in 2012, they are leading the way again by being the first to allow 16 and 17 year olds to become donors. The life-saving charity helps people suffering from blood cancers to get stem cell transplants by finding donors with matching stem cells which are found bone marrow or blood.

The Jack Petchey Foundation helps fund Anthony Nolan’s R&Be (Register and Be a Life Saver) campaign which visits schools and colleges to inform them about becoming donors in the future.

Visit www.anthonynolan.org to apply online and to find out more about how donation works.

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