Students sign up to be life-savers

Students Jonathan Ogden, Jack Rubotham and Arron Simmott with Andy Burnham (left)

Students Jonathan Ogden, Jack Rubotham and Arron Simmott with Andy Burnham (left)

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STUDENTS at Wigan and Leigh College responded superbly to a charity’s call to become lifesavers by signing up to the blood stem cell donor register.

London-based organisation Anthony Nolan held the recruitment drive at Leigh Sixth Form College, on Sale Way, to try and help increase the currently low numbers of men aged between 18 and 30 years old who are on the register, a campaign backed by Leigh MP Andy Burnham.

Around 30 students at the college signed up for the donation register, with other students who were not able to become donors as they were aged under 18 pre-registered for when they are old enough or given literature about stem cell donation.

More than 80 per cent of blood stem cell donations are from men, and men aged 18-30 are considered to be the ideal donors most likely to be asked to donate, yet just 12 percent of donors on Anthony Nolan’s register are from this age group.

To improve these figures, the charity has launched an ambitious recruitment drive to get 10,000 men in the target age group signed up, and Mr Burnham, who visited the recruitment drive at Leigh Sixth Form, is urging any fit and healthy young men in Wigan and Leigh to consider becoming a donor.

A college spokesman said: “Both the trust and the college were really pleased with the turnout, and with how many young people signed up. It was a very positive response. We weren’t quite sure how our student community would respond, as we all know how few donors there are but that doesn’t always translate into people taking the step to signing up, but there was lots of interest and they obviously wanted to make a difference.”

To join the register, all applicants have to do is fill out a short medical questionnaire and provide a sample of saliva.

A stem cell donation and transplant could save the life of someone with a blood cancer such as leukaemia, but currently Anthony Nolan is only able to find tissue type matches for half the patients who come to them. To become a donor, register online at www.anthonynolan.org