Are Leeds’ students the most selfless in the UK?

25 October 2012 By Northern Lights

Are Leeds’ students the most selfless in the UK? image

More than 400 students have offered their bone marrow to help strangers at the University of Leeds, if they prove a medical match.  Over the year, around 2,500 Leeds students will help in total.

Leeds Marrow, the student-run branch of the Anthony Nolan charity has a team of volunteers from Leeds University Union (LUU) to explain that if students prove a match, the follow up – which may not be for many years – will involve a course of injections and visits to London for a medical and then a four hour procedure to extract stem cells.

The students initially give a saliva sample, their details are registered and around one in a thousand will at some time be asked to donate stem cells for a sufferer anywhere in the world.

Leeds students have so far proved the most selfless in the UK.  Marrow works with 40 universities across the UK and signs up 9700 people a year – Leeds making up more than a quarter of these.   Behind them are Sheffield with 700 students registered last year, Southampton had 600 and Newcastle with 500 students.

Nick Raynor, a volunteer medical student at Leeds Marrow, said:  “For many people with blood cancers, such as leukaemia, a stem cell transplant is their last chance of life. For a transplant to be a success, they need to find the right match.

“However, 70 per cent of people who need a transplant are relying on finding a stranger who is a match, and 50 per cent never find a match as a suitable donor isn’t on the register. 

“Leeds students are brilliant, they are so generous.  Very few will actually be called on but it is vital that if they are ever a match, they follow through on this.”

Calum was a volunteer and then treasurer for Leeds Marrow from 2010-2012. In his second year at university he signed up to the bone marrow register and was found to be a match for someone.

He said:  “I knew there was a 1 in 1000 chance that I was a match for anyone, and so when I heard I was a potential match I was very surprised. I had some blood tests done at my GP’s to confirm I was a good match, and then I had a medical in London which all went well. 

“It is all done anonymously – my stem cells could have been going anywhere in the world!  I was a bit tired after, but the procedure was quick and simple.  More people should do it. It’s an amazing feeling, so get yourself on the bone marrow register and potentially save a life!”

Leeds University Union is a charity which represents every student at the University of Leeds with more than 33,000 members.  Since 2007 the union has been actively working to ensure students make a positive contribution to Leeds.   Students volunteer more than 88,000 hours a year and last year raised more than £325,000 for local charities, including supporting homeless projects and the Leeds Marrow project.

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Written by Northern Lights

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