A national cancer charity has hailed the Isle of Wight’s community spirit as ‘lifesaving’ this week following an appeal last year.
Delete Blood Cancer UK, who ran an appeal on the island a year ago encouraging people to join the UK Stem Cell Registry, says that the fantastic response from islanders has led to several lives being saved. It says that the appeal’s lifesaving legacy will continue to grow for years and decades to come, with many more lives being saved.
The appeal encouraging people to register as potential blood stem cell donors was run with the parents of Finley Morris, a then six-year-old boy with leukaemia who required a blood stem cell donation to get better. The charity ran the appeal with Finley’s parents to find someone with a matching tissue-type who could donate some of their blood stem cells to him, and to help all those patients seeking a blood stem cell donor.
There was a fantastic response to the appeal from islanders, with thousands attending events to join the blood stem cell registry and many more registering through the Delete Blood Cancer UK website. On one day alone, 2,211 islanders swabbed their cheeks to join the registry at an appeal event.
Delete Blood Cancer UK also attended the Isle of Wight Festival.
Not only did Finley receive a blood stem cell donation several months after the appeal and has recovered, three people from the Isle of Wight have already matched with blood cancer patients and donated their blood stem cells to save their lives. Delete Blood Cancer UK says that this is just the start of the lifesaving legacy of the appeal, and hope to match more donors to patients in need.
Joe Hallett, donor recruitment manager at the charity, says:
“There is something very special about the people of the Isle of Wight and the way they came together to support Finley and all those seeking a lifesaving blood stem cell donation.
“The response to the appeal was incredible. You could tell at the time that something wonderful was happening on the island, and it didn’t end with the appeal. It continues with the growing number of people who registered then going on to make a lifesaving donation.
“I would encourage anyone who hasn’t registered to consider joining the legion of islanders who have put themselves forward to potentially save a life one day.”
You can apply for a cheek swab kit that will allow you to join the registry through the Delete Blood Cancer UK website (www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk) or by attending a donor recruitment event between 11:00 and 16:00 on Saturday 4th October 2014 at Newport Methodist Church, Quay Street, Newport.