Life-saving appeal for bone marrow superheroes

'Superheroes' are being sought to help save lives by joining the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.

Nearly 2,000 people have already signed up to the register in North West Leeds, Ilkley and Keighley, and now the MPs for the area are appealing for more people to join the fight against blood cancer.

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for North West Leeds, and Kris Hopkins, Conservative, who represents Ilkley and Keighley,are both championing the charity's cause.

Anthony Nolan, now in its 40th anniversary year, was the world’s first bone marrow register. The blood cancer charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching people willing to donate their bone marrow to patients in desperate need of a transplant. Two thirds of UK patients will not find a matching donor from within their families - instead they turn to Anthony Nolan to find them an unrelated donor. But the charity can currently only find a match for around half of those who to come to them in desperate need, and they still urgently need more people to come forward.

The charity is searching for more local heroes to join its bone marrow register in the fight against blood cancer. The search is underway as the bone marrow register has been mapped across the UK by local area for the first time.

The charity has revealed that almost 1,000 selfless people in each of the two constituencies were willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. More than 525,000 people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 796.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, said: "It is something truly heroic to give a stranger a second chance at life. This is why I’m proud to champion this cause to my constituents.’

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said she was delighted the MPs had been inspired to encourage others to sign up.

"Donating is an incredibly selfless thing to do and will give someone with blood cancer their best chance at survival. What many people don’t realise is that it is also surprisingly simple," she said.

Anyone wanting to join the Anthony Nolan register must be aged between 16 and 30 and in good health. Registration involves filling out a simple online form and spitting into a tube.

The charity is also appealing for 'heroes' of all ages to help spread the word – in schools, communities and workplaces or to friends and family. Visit www.anthonynolan.org/superhero for further information.

Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is told they have a blood cancer such as leukaemia. For many, a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is their only chance.

The charity also caries out ground-breaking research to make bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants more successful.

At the Anthony Nolan Research Institute, set up in 1993, staff including some of the world’s top experts in bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation are working to save lives.

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