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DMU helps set another record for UK stem cell register


VOLUNTEER: Students signed up

A drive to encourage students to sign up to the UK stem cell register has recruited more than 700 people - who could all be potential lifesavers.

Student volunteers from De Montfort University (DMU) Square Mile joined forces with the Rik Basra Leukaemia Trust and charity Delete Blood Cancer to run the event as part of last night’s Highcross Takeover.

The event was run by Rik and Kas Basra and Square Mile manager Mark Charlton, and front runner Clare Sedgwick. It was organised with charity Delete Blood Cancer, which registers people aged 17 to 55 on to the UK stem cell register. In 11 hours, they signed up 709 people.

Manager Mark Charlton said: “This is just an incredible result from everyone involved.

“We had such a good response from our students to take part who all wanted to be part of a campaign which could save someone’s life. De Montfort University is committed to being a public good and this is a tremendous cause.”

Students from the University of Leicester also gave their time to help people. The students were all trained in the recruitment process and helped people to join the register by filling in consent forms and taking cheek swabs.

Leicestershire police officer Inspector Rik Basra contracted acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a form of blood cancer, three years ago and found a match just in time so save his lif.

He said: “We had the most amazing day, and to register 709 donors was fantastic. Thank you to each and every one of you who joined.”

It means DMU has helped more than 1,000 people join the UK stem cell register as potential lifesavers. Yesterday’s event follows a successful drive held at De Montfort University’s campus in March during which 366 people signed up – a new record for the single largest recruitment drive by a university.

Rik's wife Kas said: “It’s very important, 72 people a day are diagnosed as having a blood cancer and only 50 per cent of those find a match, so it’s absolutely vital."

DMU student Hayley Jeffrey, 26, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, who is studying mental health nursing, said: “I’ve taken swabs from people and a couple have said they are doing it because they’ve got friends who need to find donors.”



Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2013

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