Bored in the library? You can save someone’s life just by spitting in a cup

Donate your dribble, it’s completely painless

Three sisters are looking for students’ excess gob to help save lives after discovering their dad has a rare form of blood cancer.

Bristol Grads Georgie, 23, Sophie, 26, and sister Emma, 28, from Southampton Uni are campaigning to find stem cell donors with their #spitandsave Give Our Dad a Bone campaign.

Georgie Ireland told The Tab: “I was doing exactly the same thing as most students last year, despairing in the library trying to revise for finals.


Sophie, Georgie and Emma with parents Melanie and Rob Ireland

“I was thinking what the hell am I doing with my life, but now you could save someone’s life.”

Finding out their Dad Rob had just five per cent chance of survival unless new donors registered, the sisters from Wimbledon teamed up to find a stem cell match to fight the lymphoma.

Now they need you to spit in a tube to see if you could be a stem cell match for their dad.

She said: “It’s really shit but we can do something about it. We started just reaching out to friends, but now we have over 20,000 likes on our Facebook page and group combined.


Dad Rob Ireland, who has a rare form of blood cancer

“Literally you just register online at Anthony Nolan which takes five minutes. In one to two weeks a spit kit will arrive in the post.

“You simply spit into a test tube (where the selfies come from), seal it up and post it back. You don’t even have to pay for a stamp.”

Georgie added: “It’s super important to dispel this mad myth that it’s some horrendous excruciating painful operation if you are called upon to donate.

“Nine out of ten times it’s like giving blood. If not you will have to go under general anesthetic, but after it just feels like you’ve had a serious workout at the gym. Saving a life beats that!


Around 2500 people have signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell and bone marrow transplant charity since the sisters created the Facebook pages.

Before they launched, the number of people on the charity’s bone marrow list was 500,000, but since last week the amount registering has quadrupled.

Georgie said: “There are 12 million 16-30 year olds in the UK so the potential for over 11 million more youngsters to become donors.

“If you sign up, you might get a call in 20 years time, or you might get a call in two months saying you’re a match.

“It’s all linked globally, so you could save a little girl’s life in Canada or an old man’s in France.

“People signing up now could save the life of someone who hasn’t even been born yet.”

But it’s not easy running a viral campaign. Georgie said: “We’re sort of dividing and conquering at the moment. I was taking a year off, gap year type of thing – so now I can manage everything.

“I went on BBC Radio London today, Sophie went on Radio 5 Live on Sunday and we were on the front page of the Evening Standard last Friday.”


At first they kept the appeal secret from their dad, but Rob has since embraced the campaign.

“Positive mental attitude (PMA) is our dad’s motto and he inspired us to keep it all upbeat and funny.”

You might have come across occasional bone marrow donation drives on campus before, but the Ireland sisters push has been a runaway success.

Georgie said: “There are these marrow university societies where people donate, I don’t understand why they’re not having a bigger impact.

“But we still need more spit donations. We want you to take five minutes and you could potentially save a life.”

All you have to do is sign up here, spit in the test tube and send it straight back.