Kent Marrow are trying to find a stem cell match for local man

You could save a life this year, just by giving a spit

Most people are always happy to find out new ways they can help others. Kent Marrow are on a mission to tell people how a simple act of spitting in a tube can potentially help save the life of someone with blood cancer.

Kent Marrow are a volunteering society at Kent University who work with the charity Anthony Nolan to help people with blood cancer. Doing this by fundraising and signing up people to the stem cell register. Every year in the UK alone, 2000 people need a lifesaving stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Last year, Kent Marrow managed to sign up an amazing 162 people to the register. Statistically, at least 1 of the people signed up last year will go on to donate their lifesaving stem cells. In the last 5 months, at least 46 people signed up by Marrow groups from across the UK have donated their stem cells, with Marrow sign-ups making up at least 26% of the register alone.

There are always people looking for a lifesaving match, and some of those people are pretty close to home. We recently found out that local man Mr Ilangakoon from Whitstable needs a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. Mr Ilangakoon’s family have reached out to the local community to get as many people signed up to the register as possible, with the #Match4Yevi campaign. Mr Ilangakoon is originally from Sri Lanka, making it much more difficult for him to find a match for a donation. People from white European backgrounds have up to a 69% chance of finding a match, whereas people from ethnic minorities have as low as 20% – we think this is 100% not okay and want to change it by signing up more people from ethnic and mixed race backgrounds to give everyone a fighting chance.

How can you help?
The main requirements for joining the Anthony Nolan stem cell register is to be aged between 16 and 30, weigh over 50kgs and to be in good health. You just fill in a form and spit in a tube. The spit sample is what’s used to find out the proteins on the surface of your cells – which is then used to match you with someone! Another recruitment event is being held on the 2nd of March as part of the campaign, with more details to follow on the Kent Marrow Facebook page.

Everyone has lifesaving potential, you just need to give a spit!


University of Kent