Rock and Roll meets Parliament and signs up nearly 100 people to help save lives in National Cancer Survivors Week!

Stem Cell DriveA joint campaign to sign up new potential stem cell donors got off to a fantastic start this week with the enthusiastic signing up of nearly 100 people at the first ever donor registration event aimed at UK Members of Parliament on Tuesday, made possible through an exciting partnership between ‘Love Hope Strength Foundation’ (LHSF) and ‘Delete Blood Cancer UK’.  The registration event was supported and promoted within Parliament by MP’s from north Wales, Mark Tami and Chris Ruane.

The charities are thrilled that so many MP’s, who also have been personally and publicly supportive of other campaigns in the past, came forward to encourage all people in the UK to become potential stem cell donors and thereby give blood cancer patients in need of stem cells a second chance at life.

Mark Tami MP for Alyn and Deeside has a personal experience of blood cancer as his son Max is also a Leukaemia survivor. Mark said, “Max was very fortunate to be matched with an unrelated 35 year old male UK donor.  We still find it incredible that someone, somewhere and totally unknown to us was willing to try and save the life of a young child.  We will always be indebted to this very kind, special person and who one day, we hope to meet face to face.  He is always in our thoughts.”

Currently only 30 per cent of people in need of a donor find a match within their own family, leaving 70 per cent of people to find an unrelated donor through the register. Current national figures show that half the people in Britain who need a lifesaving stem cell donor do not actually find a suitable match, and the new partnership between LHSF and Delete Blood Cancer UK aims to dramatically improve that figure. Anyone between the ages of 17 and 55, and in good general health, can sign up to be on the UK register by joining an information sharing session, filling in a consent form and giving a tissue sample through a simple cotton cheek swab.

The charity Delete Blood Cancer UK launched in February this year with a key mission to increase the number of potential stem cell donors, so that there is a suitable donor for every person that is in need of stem cells. Someone is diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK every 18 minutes, every 10 minutes blood cancer takes a life somewhere in the world.

LHSF was founded in the UK by Mike Peters (himself a two-times cancer survivor), who is also lead singer with internationally renowned British rock bands (The Alarm and Big Country). In 2005, Mike Peters was diagnosed with Leukaemia and set up LHSF to raise funds for his local cancer centre in North Wales and further afield, via musical expeditions to Mt. Everest, Kilimanjaro and Mt. Fuji, building cancer centres in Tanzania and Nepal for those less fortunate than ourselves in Britain, along the way.

Mike Peters said, “We are so pleased at the success of this campaign, and are also delighted that the partnership is raising awareness that making a stem cell donation in this day and age is almost as simple as giving blood and virtually painless. People are realising that one day it could be someone that they know who needs a stem cell donor, and the more people that are on the list, the better everyone’s chances of finding an unrelated donor are.”

Deirdra Taylor of Delete Blood Cancer UK added, ‘Stem cell donations provide lifesaving treatments for patients with blood cancer by replacing their unhealthy cells with healthy blood-forming cells. Around 70 per cent of patients needing a transfusion of stem cells rely on the register of potential donors to find an unrelated donor, see the website below for further information and details of how to sign up online!’ For further information on becoming a potential stem cell donor or about holding a donor recruitment event for someone you may know, please visit: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk