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

University of Leicester teams up with Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign for Leicester Heroes event on Tuesday 30 April.

The University of Leicester has once again teamed up with the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign to host an event on Tuesday 30 April 2019 which aims to recruit hundreds of new potential donors to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

Thanks to big annual pushes by the University of Leicester, De Montfort University and Loughborough University, Leicester and Leicestershire has more stem cell donors signed up than anywhere else in the UK - Leicester Heroes. After constantly trying to beat each other’s numbers, the three universities have now teamed up in collaboration with the Rik Basra Campaign, under the banner Leicestershire UNItes.

Members of parliament for Leicester and Leicestershire constituencies Jon Ashworth MP and Neil O’Brien MP both received awards from Anthony Nolan in Autumn 2018 in recognition of their constituencies having signed up so many potential donors.

Blood cancers affect 38,000 people every year in the UK, from children to the elderly, and common treatments are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, in some cases, a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and around half of these people will need a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.

Anyone aged between 16 and 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 any time.

Jon Ashworth, MP for Leicester South, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign and the University of Leicester to encourage more sign-ups to the Anthony Nolan Stem Cell Register to help fight blood cancer. I am proud that Leicester South Constituency was recently recognised by Anthony Nolan as being first in the UK for the number of potential donors on the register and this is due to registration events such as this and the kindness of my constituents.”

Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough, said: “I have worked closely with Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign in recent years and am supportive of all they do in the battle against blood cancer. It’s fantastic that the University of Leicester is again collaborating with them to run a registration event to sign-up potential lifesavers onto the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

“My constituency has recently been recognised by Anthony Nolan as being second in the UK for having the most potential lifesavers on the stem cell register, but also for adding the third most stem cell donors of any constituency in the last year. This is fantastic news for people with blood cancer and highlights the philanthropic nature of the people living in the area.”

Rik Basra said: "The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign is delighted to be working with The University of Leicester once again to sign-up lifesavers to the Anthony Nolan Stem Cell Register. However, finding a matching donor is like finding a 'needle in a haystack' so every single registration really does have the potential to save a life. We've had fantastic success signing-up potential donors in the past and I'd encourage students and any staff under thirty to come along and take just ten minutes out of their day to register."