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.