Way back in the early eighties I went to a Leukaemia Research ‘Ball,’ in the Hook area which was organised by a family who had tragically lost a young family member to blood cancer. In those days, Leukaemia in it’s various forms killed an unacceptable number of youngsters but great strides have been made in research and survivability has more than doubled since. The party in Hook was good fun. Held in a village hall the catering was done by the matrons and mothers of that commuting enclave and it was all cheerfully village fete, raffle and coronation chicken like. Ten years later the event had grown into something altogether more substantial and was held in a large hotel with auctions, entertainment and attendant celebrities to match. The growth of the fundraising effort over the years was mirrored with success in the laboratory. Those raffle tickets really do help.
My mind is again focused on the wretched thing with a close friend having recently been diagnosed with the illness. Fortunately, the doctor’s roadmap for him back to the bright sunlit uplands of health and happiness is likely to include stem cell donation. Unfortunately, while his friends would happily drive to wherever they needed to be this afternoon to donate our stem cells, Anthony Nolan doesn’t actually want ours; mostly because our bodies are old and knackered. You see, the best stem cells come from those who are aged between 16 and 30, weigh over 7st 12lbs and are in good health. I should immediately point out, the old urban myth of stem cell donation being painful, ‘they stick a knitting needle in your thigh bone,’ is utter nonsense 90% of donors do so by blood in a process called peripheral blood stem cell donation. You can find out more here.
Being a donor gives ordinary people the opportunity to do something quite extraordinary in their lives. The implications for the recipients are as profound as they are joyful. Please, kindly spread the word.