A CHESTER family battling cancer has called on young men in the city to join the bone marrow registry.
The family of three-year-old Erin Cross, who is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has called on young men to sign up to the bone marrow register to help people who may desperately need a transplant.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is looking to recruit 7,500 male blood donors aged 18-30 to join its bone marrow register.
Throughout Erin’s treatment, which has included four rounds of intensive chemotherapy, she has needed numerous blood and platelet transfusions but may also need a stem cell transplant in future.
As a result, Erin’s parents Sarah and Anthony are backing NHSBT’s drive to increase the number of blood donors also on the register.
Many people suffering from life threatening blood disorders, cancers and immune deficiencies often require a life-saving blood stem cell transplant from a donor with a matching tissue type.
Research has shown that the most successful blood stem cell donations come from younger donors, as these have the strongest chance of success for the patient.
Erin and mum Sarah went to a blood donation centre in the University of Chester to speak to students there about why it is important to join the register.
Sarah said: “Erin has a 15 per cent chance of relapse and if this happens, her only chance of a cure would be a bone marrow transplant.
“So we’re now trying to boost the numbers of people on the British Bone Marrow Registry ahead of this time to give both Erin and all others the best chance of a match.
“If you are already on the BBMR – thank you. If not, please do consider joining – it only means an extra sample taken at the time of your blood donation and completion of a simple form.
“It has been great speaking to all the students today and there have been a lot who are really interested in joining which is great.”
Donating stem cells is as almost as simple as donating blood. It is usually done in hospital as a non-surgical outpatient procedure by a technique called peripheral blood stem cell donation.
NHS Blood and Transplant works closely with Anthony Nolan and the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry – if anyone has ever joined either of these, they do not need to join the BBMR as details are shared among the three registries.
Regular blood donor sessions in the Chester area include:
l Chester University, Parkgate Road, Chester
l Chester Race Co Ltd, Watergate Square, Chester
l Saltney Social Tavern, High Street, Saltney
l Upton-by-Chester High School, St James Avenue, Upton
To find out more or to book an appointment to give blood and join the BBMR, call on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.
Anyone willing to consider joining the stem cell register needs to tell staff at the start of their next blood donation session.