Recently, student volunteers at two Birmingham Universities, recruited 267 young people to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.   

Following a similar campaign in London in February, the week-long ‘Birmingham City’ campaign was spearheaded by ‘Marrow’, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer network, which operates in 55 universities across the country. Birmingham City campaign recruitment events were held at the University of Birmingham campus at Edgbaston and Aston University campus in Birmingham city centre. 

Birmingham has a diverse population and, because of this, the campaign focused on highlighting and celebrating the diversity of Birmingham, by having a particular focus on recruiting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

It’s more difficult for patients from BAME backgrounds to find a donor with a matching tissue type.  Only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match, and this drops dramatically to around 20%, for patients from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds. Students in Birmingham want to do everything they can to change this.  

Marrow volunteers at the University of Birmigham

Since September, stem cell donors recruited by Marrow have accounted for 25% of all people who have donated, meaning the student volunteers are a vital part of the work of Anthony Nolan. This academic year, Marrow is also celebrating 20 years of students saving lives and the 130,000 potential lifesavers they have recruited to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register since 1998. 

Johanna Madslien, 19, is a student at the University of Birmingham and signed up to the Anthony Nolan register at one of the events held at University of Birmingham’s library.    

 Johanna said: ‘I have such a diverse ethnic mix, I’m a 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation immigrant from three different countries, which is one of the reasons I decided to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register today.’ 

 ‘My mum is part Chinese and told me that people with mixed ethnic backgrounds are less likely to find a stem cell match, so by joining the register I might be able to help someone with a similar ethnic background to me.’ 

 Aisling Cohn, Youth Programmes Senior Manager at Anthony Nolan said: ‘It was great to see our Birmingham Marrow volunteers working together to inspire  hundreds of students to sign up to the register, ready to give a second chance of life to someone in desperate need of a stem cell transplant.’ 

 ‘Our Marrow groups work hard throughout the year, alongside their degrees, to build and diversify our register, so that we’re able to provide the best match to even more people with blood cancer.  They really are heroes.’ 

 Anyone aged 16-30 and in relatively good health can join the Anthony Nolan register. To find out more about Anthony Nolan visit www.anthonynolan.org 


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