To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith is encouraging his constituents to sign up to be a potential stem cell donor on the Antony Nolan register.
Mr Smith is also hoping to raise awareness of the urgent need for more donors in light of the Covid-19 outbreak and the challenges it has presented to recruiting potential life-savers.
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.
In Blaenau Gwent, 665 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 21% of these donors are in the most in-demand group – men aged 16-30 – with the average age being 32.
Nick Smith MP said: “I am very pleased that 665 people in Blaenau Gwent are registered, any one of whom could give someone with blood cancer a second chance at life by donating their stem cells.
“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month I am asking that even more people sign up.
“Donating stem cells is really straightforward and simple but it could make all the difference for someone with no other chance of a cure.
“I am told that in particular there is a demand for more men aged 16-30 to sign up as well as anyone from an ethnic minority background.
“Anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer but men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of all donations but only make up 18% of the register.
“If you are in this group please consider signing up as a potential life-saver. If you know someone in this group you think may be interested please spread the word.”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 52 selfless people from Blaenau Gwent 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 Blaenau Gwent 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.”
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.
For more information on signing up visit anthonynolan.org/join.