Loughborough smashes national record for stem cell donor recruitment

Loughborough University, Loughborough Students’ Union, Anthony Nolan and the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign (RBLC) have together broken the national record for the number of stem cell donors recruited in one day at a university, as a result of a major campus-wide drive.

A total of 2,056 eligible donors joined the Anthony Nolan register during the ‘Spit Happens’ event on Wednesday 15 March 2017, with the previous record standing at 1,404.

Throughout the day multiple registration sites were set up across the Loughborough campus where individuals aged 16-30 could complete a short form, provide a saliva sample and join the register.

Speaking about the achievement, Professor Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at Loughborough University and himself a recipient of a life-saving stem cell transplant, said: “I am incredibly proud of Loughborough staff and students, as well as our partners, for adding so many names to the register. A huge amount of teamwork and dedication has gone into this campaign and there’s no doubt that lives will be saved as a result.”

Rik Basra added: “Spit Happens was a truly remarkable collaborative drive to boost lifesavers on the Anthony Nolan register. It’s particularly poignant that a university with a worldwide reputation for health and fitness is doing so much to help those at the other end of the health spectrum.

“The enthusiasm and commitment of both students and staff have been absolutely amazing, and I’m certain news of a lifesaving match is just a matter of time. A big thanks to Loughborough University, Loughborough Students’ Union and Loughborough Marrow who helped make the day such a success.”

Since 1974, the Anthony Nolan register has made 15,000 stem cell transplants possible but it’s still the case that only 60% of individuals in need of a transplant find the best possible life-saving match they need; this figure drops dramatically to just 20% if you are from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Ann O'Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, commented: “We are overwhelmed by the amazing work of Loughborough University staff and students, Loughborough Students’ Union, the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign and Loughborough Marrow.

“Anthony Nolan is so proud to have worked alongside these inspirational partners on the Spit Happens event. The donors who were recruited today will offer hope and a chance of life to patients in need of a transplant for decades to come – a truly lifesaving legacy. We’re grateful to all those who supported this campaign and those who joined the Anthony Nolan register today.”

Further information on joining the register is available on the Anthony Nolan website and the University’s dedicated event page.

View the press release on the Loughborough University website for further information and resources.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018. 

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. 

The University has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking. 

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.