Leicestershire's three universities join forces to fight blood cancer


A new campaign has been launched to harness the power of Leicestershire’s three universities to recruit more lifesaving stem cell donors.

The University of Leicester, Loughborough University and De Montfort University have joined forces to create Leicestershire UNItes in partnership with the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign.

bone marrow

Each university will host a recruitment drive to add more names to the UK’s stem cell register, run by the Anthony Nolan Trust to help find potentially lifesaving matches for people with blood cancer.

The total number of people recruited by the three universities, together with sixth form colleges in Leicestershire, will be added up at the end of the year. Organisers are hoping to set a new record for the number of people on the register – and make Leicestershire the stem cell capital of the UK.

The aim of the campaign is to add more names to the UK’s stem cell register, helping to find potentially lifesaving matches for people with blood cancer, by hosting recruitment drives.

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be holding its event on Tuesday, January 30 run by #DMUlocal and DSU. Students, staff and members of the local community aged 16-30 are being urged to come to campus on the day to join up between 10am and 6pm.

Joining the register could not be easier – all it takes is a simple cheek swab and a few details. Specially-trained volunteers will be on hand to guide people through the process which takes less than 10 minutes.

Loughborough University held its recruitment drive in March 2017, where it signed up more than 2,000 people to the stem cell register, smashing the national record for the number of stem cell donors recruited in one day at a university.

Rik, whose life was saved when a match was found for him on the stem cell register, said: “Working with the big-hearted community of Leicester and Leicestershire we’ve recruited thousands to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. Our latest drive ‘Leicestershire Unites’ brings together all three local universities and a number of sixth form colleges in a coordinated approach.

“We want everyone to know just how simple and straightforward it is to sign-up and potentially save a life. Working together with our partners we intend to push local awareness and understanding to unprecedented levels, which we hope will in-turn boost registration numbers to record levels, we’re very excited!”

Students’ unions at DMU, Leicester and Loughborough are all supporting the Leicestershire UNItes campaign and will be working hard to ensure as many students join the register as possible.

* Find out how you can join the campaign
* Stem cell drive helps save a life
* Lifesaving campaign gets off to flying start

Ahtesham Mahmood, President of DSU, said: “We are extremely excited, and honoured, to be hosting Leicestershire UNItes at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) later this month. The university is renowned for welcoming people from all backgrounds, and through Leicestershire UNItes we will be using our rich, diverse student base from across the world to create an impact right here in our county – or even beyond.
“This is about welcoming the community to DMU and saving lives.”

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, said: “We are very proud that some of our staff and students have been matches for people fighting leukaemia. By working together with universities across Leicestershire, we can encourage even more people to sign-up to the register and offer hope to people with blood cancer.”

The campaign has been backed by Leicester’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicestershire County Council chairman Nick Rushton and Leicestershire Police’s chief constable Simon Cole.
Professor Paul Boyle President & Vice-Chancellor University of Leicester said: “We are delighted to partner with our fellow Leicestershire universities, De Montfort University and Loughborough University, in establishing the new Leicestershire UNItes campaign. This truly collaborative venture is a fantastic example of how our local universities work together to make a tangible impact on the lives of our local community and beyond."
Professor Bob Allison, Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University - which hosted an event in March that recruited more than 2,000 people to the register - said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Leicestershire UNItes campaign. We recruited an additional 2,056 donors to the Anthony Nolan register in 2017 at Loughborough through our Spit Happens campaign, and I’m sure that by harnessing the power of our three universities we will be able to boost the number of potential lifesavers even further.”

Posted on Tuesday 23rd January 2018

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