Brighton and Sussex students back campaign for more male marrow donors

You can donate this Wednesday on campus

Students from Sussex and Brighton universities are campaigning to recruit young male stem cell donors as part of a national ‘March of the Men’ campaign. 

Brighton & Sussex  Marrow Society, a group that supports the work of blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan by signing up potential donors to the stem cell register, is part of the UK wide campaign to recruit as many young men to the register as possible in the month of March. This follows their incredibly successful #Match4Lara campaign.

24-year-old Lara found a match thanks to the charity

As part of the campaign, Brighton & Sussex Marrow are hosting a recruitment event on Wednesday 9 March and launch a ‘tag a man who can’ social media challenge for their followers to tag young men who could join the register.

Men aged 16-30 are the most demanded stem cell donors, and are 3.5 times more likely than average to donate once they join the register – but worryingly, they make up only 15% of the register.Last year, young men accounted for over half of all stem cell donations in the UK.

The blood cancer charity hopes the insights into modern masculinity will help it get to the bottom of why there may be a shortage of young male stem cell donors. Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Being a man in 2016 clearly means different things to different people and we should celebrate this diversity. No matter what kind of man you are, simply being a man means you could be a lifeline for someone with blood cancer.”

Vanessa, Brighton & Sussex Marrow President, says: “Sadly the numbers clearly don’t add up and we desperately need more young men to join the register.”  

“There are so many myths that surround stem cell donation and may put young men off signing up, we see it all the time at our recruitment events on campus. Many people think it’s a painful procedure but the process is so straightforward. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and provide a saliva sample. If you are a match for someone, 90% of the time the process is similar to giving blood.”

A quarter of bone marrow or stem cell donors are now recruited at university by student volunteer groups,  meaning that uni students could hold the key to solving inequalities in the register. Students represent a whopping  27% of the 841 unrelated stem cell donations that have occurred in UK since 2013.

Brighton and Sussex marrow in action: they’ve run the half marathon 2 years in a row

In the last two years, student donors who signed up at university have given 227 strangers their blood and marrow. Since September, Brighton & Sussex Marrow Society have recruited 239 potential lifesavers to the register, and with a 1 in 100 chance of going on to donate, 2 people from Sussex and Brighton have saved a life.

Click here to find out more about Anthony Nolan and Marrow’s March of the Men campaign, or follow the #MarchoftheMen hashtag on social media.