Volunteers from the University of Bath are set to celebrate 20 years of students saving lives with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, and the 931 potential stem cell donors they’ve recruited to the register.
‘Marrow’ is the name for Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network. Bath Marrow at the University of Bath will hold a series of fundraising and donor recruitment events at their university as part of a year-long celebration to raise awareness of the need for more stem cell donors.
Over the last seven years, the Bath Marrow has held over 13 events to raise awareness of the work that Anthony Nolan does to support families and patients with blood cancer.
Over 2 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.
Marrow students also aim to recruit potential donors from a range of backgrounds to help provide hope to for patients from minority and ethnic backgrounds.
Patients from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds have just a 20% chance of finding the best possible matching stem cell donor compared to 69% of patients from north European backgrounds.
Nele Gewert, a second year Psychology student and President of Bath Marrow said: “Being part of the incredible work that Antony Nolan does through Marrow has had a huge impact on me as well as the Bath Marrow committee who oversee all Marrow fundraising and donor recruitment events.
“I have rarely witnessed such dedication and passion in a student group and am proud to be part of a community that fuels this passion.
“Marrow’s 20th year is very exciting because in celebration of what we stand for, we aim to raise more awareness and funds, recruit more donors, and pass our passion on to more students.
“We want to extend a massive thank you to every single lifesaver that has signed up to the register at our various recruitment events over the past twenty years or supported Bath Marrow’s fundraising efforts when we ran the Bath Half Marathon, created a successful Naked Calendar or at our bag packs.
“With the help of this year’s volunteers we will hopefully continue this success – bring on Marrow20. “
Marrow groups operate in over 55 UK universities, and have recruited more than 130,000 people to the Anthony Nolan register since 1998.
Charlotte Cunliffe, Marrow Programme Lead, said: “This year, our wonderful Marrow community is proud to be celebrating 20 years of saving lives.
“The impressive and often creative efforts of our volunteers from Bath 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 Bath.”
Marrow began in 1998 when James Kustow, a student at The University of Nottingham, was having dinner with some friends when he received a call from his mother. A childhood friend of his, Karen, had been diagnosed with leukaemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.
Banding together with his friends, James organised a hugely successful recruitment event on campus to try and get more people to join the Anthony Nolan register.
James and his fellow volunteers decided to put together a team to run regular events and raise awareness for years to come. They called it Marrow.
Sadly, Karen’s leukaemia came back after her transplant and she died four months later – but her legacy lives on in the Marrow groups which were set up to help her and many more people like her.
Marrow has gone from strength to strength; more than 1,500 people recruited by our student volunteers have gone on to donate their stem cells to patients in need.
To this day Marrow continue work hard to save the lives of people with blood cancer.
You can find out more about Marrow Groups at www.anthonynolan.org/marrow.