News 6 September 2021

Here’s How You Can Support Anthony Nolan & Their Mission To Save Lives Of Blood Cancer Patients

6 September 2021

UK charity Anthony Nolan is calling on you to help improve the odds for people from minority ethnic backgrounds who need a stem cell transplant. 

Founded in 1974 as the world’s first stem cell register, Anthony Nolan is a charity that was established by a mother determined to save her son.

Through recruiting potential donors, funding ground-breaking research and providing high-standard post-transplant care, alongside its ever-growing stem cell register, the charity has continued to help other individuals with blood cancer since then.

One such person who applied to be on the stem cell register is 24-year-old UK rap fan Ezra Cunningham, who was inspired to join the register after hearing how people from ethnic minority backgrounds are much less likely fo find a donor.

Ezra donating his stem cells

Only 37% of transplant recipients from minority ethnic backgrounds receive the best stem cell donor match from an unrelated donor. This is compared to 72% of patients from white Caucasian backgrounds. 

“Considering there’s potentially billions of people to match with on the earth, I thought both of those figures were way too low,” Ezra said. “But coming from an ethnic minority background definitely made the 37% figure hit close to home. I felt that if it were me in need of a stem cell transplant, I’d be wishing that more people were registered.”

Six months after signing up to the register, Ezra was contacted by Anthony Nolan who revealed that he was a match for a patient in desperate need of a transplant.

In March 2021, Ezra donated his stem cells and all of his expenses, such as travelling to London to stay in a hotel, were covered by Anthony Nolan.

He’s now encouraging others to apply to be on the register to help save the lives of other seriously ill blood cancer patients.

“If you’re asked to donate, it’s really easy, painless and could save somebody’s life,” Ezra added.

“I know how much it means to people with blood cancer and their families, I’d say just do it. I know life can be busy but I’m sure we can all save two days of our lives to save someone else’s.”

Alex Cupit, Online Recruitment Lead at Anthony Nolan, said: “Diversifying the stem cell register is a huge priority for Anthony Nolan. If you’re between the ages of 16-30 and from a minority ethnic background, you have the potential to change the lives of blood cancer patients, who need people just like you, ready and waiting on the stem cell register to give them a second chance of life. 

“Together, we can work towards a future where no one is waiting for a match.”

To find out more about Anthony Nolan and how to join the register, please click here.