Rhoda Grant MSP urges more people in the Highlands and Islands to join the stem cell register, following her attendance at a reception in parliament marking Blood Cancer Awareness month. 

The reception celebrated the number of potential stem cell donors in the Highlands and Islands on the Anthony Nolan register, which uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.  In the Highlands and Islands 8,187 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan; 23% of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 33.

Now, Mrs Grant is encouraging more people from the Highlands and Islands, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors to make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Rhoda Grant said: “I am very proud that the Highlands and Islands has 8,187 potential donors on the register, any one of whom could offer the only chance of giving someone with blood cancer a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

“I would especially like to commend the great work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in engaging local communities, particularly secondary schools across Scotland. They’ve recruited more than fifty people who have gone on to donate. Their steadfast commitment over the past ten years has had a truly lifesaving impact.”

For more information on Anthony Nolan visit anthonynolan.org/join