Leicester Heroes event aims to recruit hundreds of new potential stem cell donors

Our University has once again teamed up with The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign to host an event on Monday 30 October which aims to recruit hundreds of new potential donors to the Anthony Nolan stem cell  register.

The Leicester Heroes event on our campus and at Oadby Halls of Residence aims to recruit even more people to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register than last year, where over 1600 people signed up. Recruitment events have been organised at colleges across Leicestershire throughout October, culminating at our University on 30 October.

Leicester Marrow, part of Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network operating in over 50 UK universities, will join staff and student volunteers to help recruit potential stem cell donors on the day.

Anyone aged between 16-30 can sign up to the Anthony Nolan Register to potentially give someone in desperate need a second chance of life and become one of our Leicester Heroes.

It takes less than 10 minutes to join the register. All that is required to sign up is for people to fill out a form, and provide a DNA sample via a painless cheek swab. Once on the register, potential donors will stay on until they’re 60 years old and could be called to donate their stem cells to a patient in need of a transplant at anytime.

90% of stem cell donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a straightforward, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood. The other 10% donate through bone marrow, where they give cells from the bone marrow in their pelvis while under general anaesthetic.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of our University, said: "Rik's efforts to raise awareness of Leukaemia and the lifesaving gift of joining the Anthony Nolan Stem Cell Register have been inspirational. Last year, we saw over 1600 students, staff and members of the public sign up as potential donors and it will be a pleasure to see more heroes on our campus this year.

"I’d also like to thank the volunteers from our staff, students and the general public, who have generously given their time and effort towards this great cause, and the local Colleges who we have teamed up with in order to achieve our target. I would encourage anyone between 16-30 to sign up to the register as they could one day save someone’s life.”

Rik Basra said: “Leicester Heroes was amazing last year, we signed up hundreds of lifesavers and this year it’s set to be even bigger. In addition to the main registration event at the University of Leicester, we have satellite drives at various local sixth form colleges. Finding a donor match for desperately ill blood cancer patients is extremely hard. I’m certain we’ll sign-up a student who will save a life; truly a Leicester Hero in every sense.”