VOLUNTEERS from the University of Edinburgh are celebrating 20 years of fundraising for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan after holding more than 80 events to help the organisation continue its research into the condition.
Edinburgh Marrow will hold a series of fundraising and donor recruitment events at the university as part of a year-long celebration to raise awareness of the need for more stem cell donors.
The student volunteer network has held over 85 events to raise awareness of the work that Anthony Nolan does to support families and patients with blood cancer. More than 30 students recruited through these Marrow events have gone on to donate stem cells to patients while, on average, people have around a 1 in 800 chance of being asked to donate stem cells or bone marrow in the next five years.
Phoebe Liddell, a third year, biomedical sciences student and President of Edinburgh University Blood, Bone Marrow and Transplant (EUBBT) Society said: “We are very proud to support the lifesaving work that Anthony Nolan does through Marrow. We would like to say a massive thank you to all our wonderful volunteers and to every single student who signed up to the UK stem cell register at our events.”
She added: “We are very excited to build on the success we achieved last year including winning Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) activities awards and holding our most successful Marrow donor recruitment event ever, signing up over 100 potential lifesavers in one day.”
Founder James Kustow began the group in 1998 after learning a friend of his mother’s had been diagnosed with leukemia and required a bone marrow transplant to boost her chances of survival. Marrow students also aim to recruit potential donors from a range of backgrounds to help provide hope for patients from minority and ethnic backgrounds.
Patients from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds have just a 20 per cent chance of finding the best possible matching stem cell donor compared to 69 per cent of patients from north European backgrounds.
Charlotte Cunliffe, Marrow Programme Lead, said: “The impressive and often creative efforts of our volunteers from Edinburgh Marrow in recruiting donors has helped Anthony Nolan to recruit more than 130,000 potential donors.
“Our work in universities is vital, because it allows us to reach a young and diverse group of people. We are excited about the next 20 years and are looking forward to spreading the word about the lifesaving potential of students on campuses across Edinburgh.”