Glasgow Marrow want you to save a life

They’re recruiting donors all week at the uni gym


Across the UK, there is a student-led movement saving the lives of people with blood cancer. Those students are Marrow.

In more than 50 different UK universities, there are thousands of dedicated Marrowers using their time, energy and enthusiasm to add healthy, young students to Anthony Nolan’s register.

In the past year alone, 116 people signed up by these student groups have gone on to donate and potentially save the life of a stranger.

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We are Glasgow Marrow. Maybe you’ve seen us in our branded hoodies on campus, maybe you’ve woken up with a mysterious “Give a spit” stamp on your arm after one of our Viper fundraisers, maybe you are yet to hear of us.

We are asking for your help to save even more lives. In recent years, awareness of blood cancers has increased on campus with Glasgow Marrow signing up 5154 students so far.

Of those, 50 have gone on to donate giving 50 people a second chance at life.

When we flyer our donor sign up events, we often lead with the line: “Would you like to save a life today?” Far too often people giggle awkwardly, quickly walk away from us or just reply with a blunt “no”.

With the shocking statistic that every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer around 2,000 people in the alone UK alone need a lifesaving transplant every year.

Two thirds of patients will not find a suitable donor in their families and this is where Marrow and Anthony Nolan come in. The patients will turn to the register in hope in finding a match. This match will lead to a transplant provided to them by a stranger who is willing to save their life.

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There are many myths surrounding bone marrow and stem cell donation – “But isn’t it really painful?” being the most widespread fear. In reality, this is simply untrue.

90% of all donations are made by PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell donation) method which is comparable to dialysis – you are hooked up to a machine for around 4 hours while your blood goes out of one arm, stem cells are filtered out and back in the other arm. Joe Campbell, a fifth year medic donated his stem cells by PBSC during the summer and described the experience as “similar to blood donation.. over a few hours rather than a few minutes.”

10% of the time the preferred method of donation is “bone marrow harvest” during which the donor will be under general anaesthetic and bone marrow will be taken from the pelvis with a needle.

Callum Cribbes, a UoG graduate (and former Glasgow Marrow committee member) donated via the bone marrow harvest method. “Like most people”, he said, “I feared donating would be painful [but] the donation process was made easy by Anthony Nolan and the medical staff involved – as for the pain, it was never worse than discomfort”.

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Charlotte Connolly, Marrow Programme Lead at Anthony Nolan said: “There is a silent lifesaving revolution unfolding at universities across the UK, thanks to our Marrow volunteers.

“These selfless students are truly having a lifesaving impact, as the amazing statistics show – it’s incredible that they are responsible for a quarter of the lives we save as a charity.”

Glasgow Marrow are holding a week long donor recruitment event at the Stevenson Building (Glasgow Uni Gym) Monday 23rd until Friday 27th November from 3-8pm. So please, come along, chat to us and take 10 minutes out of your busy day to become an every day hero.

If you are not a member of the GU gym or find these dates unsuitable, please come along to the Queen Margaret Union between 10am and 5pm on the 30th of November and 1st December where we will be holding another donor recruitment event.