Coventry and Warwick students join forces to recruit donors for blood cancer charity

Students from Coventry and Warwick universities joined forces to host a donor recruitment drive for a leading blood cancer charity.

Coventry and Warwick studentsThe event, which was in aid of the Anthony Nolan organisation, was held at Coventry University’s new Engineering and Computing building on Tuesday.

Anthony Nolan is a pioneering charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancer who need a blood stem cell or bone marrow transplant. There are some 30,000 people the world over waiting for transplants, so the charity is keen to recruit more donors and they have simplified the process of registering.

Previously, people were asked to give blood samples to establish their tissue type but now this information can be determined by saliva testing – a much speedier method that Anthony Nolan hopes will significantly increase the number of people on its donor register.

The students from Coventry and Warwick played their part at Tuesday’s event, handing out saliva kits to would-be donors and urging them to ‘give a spit and save a life.’

Jenni Fernando, who is associate head of engineering management and principal lecturer in aviation management at Coventry University, spearheaded the donor recruitment day.

Jenni, who this month has herself become a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donor to a blood cancer patient, said: “I joined the Anthony Nolan Register in my twenties, and was thrilled, if a little daunted, to be called forward as a potential match. I feel very privileged to have been able to help someone in this way. I don’t know my recipient, but hope that this donation is going to give them and their family the chance of a very Happy Christmas this year.

“It’s just a simple thing to do, just like giving blood, and the Anthony Nolan support team have been fantastic all the way through. I would urge anyone, aged 16 to 30, to join the Register. There is currently an urgent need for young male donors and those from ethnic minority groups and of mixed race to join the Register.”

There are now over 40 ‘marrow’ student volunteer groups at universities across the UK, and joining the register is easy and just involves filling in an application form and giving a small saliva sample.

Further information on Anthony Nolan and the registration process can be found at the charity’s website