A volunteer from Ripon has spoken to MPs about a lifesaving education programme that highlights the importance of bone marrow, blood and organ donation.
Steve Silver, a volunteer for the Anthony Nolan charity, spoke to politicians and their staff at their Portcullis House offices, at an event hosted by Felton and Heston MP, Seema Malhotra.
Mr Silver began volunteering for the charity in 2010, joining its ‘Register and Be a Lifesaver’ (R&Be) project which sees him deliver inspiring presentations about Anthony Nolan’s work to 16 to 18 year old students across the Yorkshire region.
The event served as an information session, championing the charity’s ‘Adrian’s Law’ Bill, which calls for all 16 to 18-year-olds to be educated on the need for, and processes behind, donating blood, organs and bone marrow.
The bill gained the signatures of 67 MPs at its Early Day Motion earlier in year, and again Westminster showed strong support for the cause with a number of MPs expressing their interest in helping the campaign.
Mr Silver said:
It is fantastic to have such strong support for our education programme. As local advocates, MPs can help us reach more young people, which will ultimately help save more lives.
We’re looking forward to working with them to help us reach more students both in their constituencies, but also to see R&Be become part of every young person’s education.
The R&Be project has reached over 100,000 students since it was established in 2009, with more than 4,600 young people joining the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register as a result.
The R&Be programme is a partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant that also looks to recruit to the blood and organ donor registers. Since 2009, over 7,400 students have joined the blood donor register and nearly 2,400 have signed up as organ donors as a direct result.
Mr Silver added:
With someone in the UK being diagnosed with a blood cancer every 20 minutes, it’s crucial that we have a large register of potential bone marrow donors from which we can try to find a match.
A transplant is usually the last option open to these patients, and the larger the register, the more chance they have of surviving their conditions.
It is also worth saying that all of this would not be possible without the kind donations Anthony Nolan receive each year.
It costs around £100 to place each potential donor on the register and it is for this reason that I, and many others like myself, will be running the London Marathon this April raising funds for Anthony Nolan.
To support Steve’s fundraising campaign, in which he hopes to raise enough to place a potential donor on the register for every mile of the race, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SteveSilver
Main photograph shows R&Be Volunteer Steve Silver Speaking With Hackney South and Shoreditch MP, Meg Hilier