Older KitGuru readers will remember the plight of Anthony Nolan back in the 1970s. When he died of a rare blood disorder in 1979, his mother decided to found a charity in his name and so the Anthony Nolan Register was born in 1974. At Multiplay’s i43 event in Telford over the Bank Holiday weekend, hundreds of gamers stepped up to join. KitGuru was there to see the charity in action.
The Anthony Nolan charity went into full recruitment drive among the gamers at the Insomnia i43 event. They were looking for a few good men to sign themselves up for the stem cell register and potentially save the lives of people with blood cancers.
Rebecca Sedgewick, one of the charity’s recruitment managers, said it made sense to be at the event. She explained, “The stem cells of choice are from a young males aged 18 to 30, because men can give more stem cells in a single donation and a younger donor gives the recipient a 15% higher chance of survival”.
“That’s when we came up with the idea of Multiplay i43”, she said smiling. “Where else can you find more friendly, intelligent, strapping young men in one place at one time, than at the Insomnia event?”.
On the Saturday when the KitGuru army descended on Telford, the Anthony Nolan team managed to nab 100 sign-ups, with loads more expected on the Sunday and Monday.
Once we began chatting with Rebecca, it became clear just how easy and effective the whole process is. For some reason, KitGuru had the idea there there were big needles and strong anaesthetics involved. We were wrong.
Registering is simple, you need to fill out a form and given a saliva swab, which goes off for testing to see if you are an initial match. Right now, it’s around 1 in 5,000 that can donate sensibly.
If you’re selected as a donor, you’ll be asked to help in one of two ways. You can either donate bone marrow, which involves two nights stay in hospital and a small operation under local anaesthetic – or you can choose the more modern method of peripheral blood cell collection, which means taking a short series of injections and then donating without surgery through a tube in your arm, while you lay there feeling warm and safe in the knowledge that you might be saving a life.
One of the volunteers on the stand had a baby girl born with a form of leukaemia and, historically, the poor tot’s chances would have been severely limited. But with the help of the Anthony Nolan register, she was matched at 6 months and her immune system completely rejuvenated by donations.
One of the chaps on the stand donated to a man suffering from a previously terminal cancer around 17 years ago. The first treatment lasted 15 years and the second (yep – this hero donated twice to the same person) has already lasted 2 years.
KitGuru says: While no treatment is going to guarantee eternal life, the gift of 17 years is enough to watch your children mature and have kids of their own. Priceless. We urge you to follow the example of the brave gamers at Multiplay’s i43 event and contact the Anthony Nolan Register today. Who knows, with a little effort on your behalf, someone else might live an extra 17 years. Go on – give it a try!
Click here to get more information on how you can (a) get easily tested and, if you are a match, (b) find out how simple it can be to save a life.