Warwick Marrow, a student run branch of the national charity Anthony Nolan, will be hosting a sign up event for Marley and Meena – who are both looking for bone marrow donors – on Thursday 1 November.
There will be sign up booths in the SU atrium, Oculus, and Maths & Stats building from 10am to 6pm. The process, which involves a cheek swab and a short form, takes less than 10 minutes.
The first patient that the event is hosted for, Marley, is a six year old boy with a life-threatening condition known as aplastic anaemia, a type of bone marrow failure.
Currently, receiving a stem cell transplant from a health donor is his last hope for a cure. His little brother was not a suitable donor. Thus, his family has been working to find his match, but has not been successful yet.
Meena, who is also looking for a donor through Warwick Marrow’s event, is a 41 year old mother of five year old twins. This March, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of blood cancer.
Although she was initially responsive to treatment, she relapsed. Her last chance of survival is also through a stem cell transplant from a suitable healthy donor.
Like Marley, she has not been able to find a match so far. Due to her Asian heritage, she has a lower successful rate of receiving one.
This is because patients from ethnic minority backgrounds have a 20% chance of finding suitable donors, while Caucasian patients have a 69% chance.
Regarding this issue, Warwick Marrow said: “It is so important we get more people from ethnic minority backgrounds signed up to the register, as they still remain massively underrepresented.
“Blood cancer doesn’t discriminate, so why should the donor register?”