Awareness event to encourage more people to join stem cell register
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A Northamptonshire Police officer who was diagnosed with Leukaemia last year, has organised a series of donor recruitment events to encourage more people to join the stem cell register.
Detective Sergeant Keith Morson of the Serious & Organised Crime Team, will be holding the first of three events at Force Headquarters this Thursday (October 3), in partnership with blood cancer charity – Anthony Nolan.
The event has been organised to help raise awareness of the charity and to inspire members of the Northamptonshire Emergency Services (NES) Cadets to consider becoming potential stem cell donors. To join the Anthony Nolan register, you must be 16-30 and healthy.
Keith said: “I was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2018 and wanted to do something positive to help me through treatment and give me a positive focus.
“Anthony Nolan help people with all types of blood cancer find lifesaving stem cell donors so this charity was perfect for me to support, plus I had been on the stem cell register for many years before my diagnosis.
“Being prepared to be on the register will literally make the difference between life and death. Such a simple procedure to extract stem cells through the blood is painless and gives someone else the chance at life.
“Many types of blood cancer can be cured through stem cell donation. However, while the number of people on the register is growing all the time, in order to find matches for all those who need one, requires more people to join the register.”
A representative from Anthony Nolan will be on hand to speak to the cadets about the charity and provide advice and information on how to join the register as well as the stem cell donation procedure.
Keith will be sharing his own personal journey through blood cancer. He will be joined by Chief Superintendent Mark Behan and his daughter Caitlin and PC Chris Atkins.
At the age of seven, Caitlin received a pioneering stem cell transplant as part of her treatment for Fanconi’s anaemia in May, 2004, while Chris also received a stem cell transplant in 2011 after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a transplant. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.
Rebecca Pritchard, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, says, “We are delighted Keith has been inspired to encourage people to sign up as donors.
“Every day, five people will start their search for a matching stranger who might save their life. Each person who signs up has the potential to help save someone in desperate need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant.
“We’re also particularly calling on young men aged 16-30 to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register as young men provide 50 per cent of all stem cell donations but make up just 18 per cent of our register.”
Keith will also be holding further awareness sessions for Cadets in Wellingborough, Daventry, Towcester and Kettering.
Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK, and the third biggest killer, accounting for nine per cent of all new cases diagnosed. Each year about 2,000 people need a stem cell transplant from a stranger.