A former Balby Carr college student has joined a leading cancer charity to urge people to save lives by registering for a pioneering scheme.
Charlotte Priestnall, 20, was inspired to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register after hearing a Register & Be a Lifesaver talk at Balby Carr Community Sports College.
She is now one of 50 people who have gone on to donate potentially lifesaving stem cells as a result of the programme.
Register & Be a Lifesaver (R&Be) educates 16-18 year olds about stem cell, blood and organ donation. It is run by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and is the legacy of Adrian Sudbury, a former student of Bilborough College.
Adrian’s father Keith Sudbury founded R&Be, together with his wife Kay, after Adrian died of leukaemia in 2008.
Charlotte, a care and support worker, said: “I had already started donating blood and had registered to be an organ donor since my 16th birthday so I thought that this was another way I could help someone by giving away something that isn’t so important to me but is a necessity for another.
‘It honestly meant the world to me. If I can help someone else even just a smidgen by doing something that I can replace in no time at all why not? It saves someone’s life and what inconvenience is it? None.”
She added: “Donating was absolutely amazing, although looking back it’s a bit of a blur. The nurses were so nice and caring, they kept checking on me and reassuring me.
“I would tell someone thinking of joining the register to do it! If you are weary then do some research and if you do decide to register you do not have to accept the offer if you are someone’s match. It is honestly the best things I have done in my life.”
Chief executive of Anthony Nolan, Henny Braund, said: “The R&Be programme has been an absolutely integral part of recruiting a new generation of potential lifesavers.
“We are so pleased that the programme has produced its 50th donor, and no doubt countless others who have signed up through R&Be will go on to potentially save the life of someone in desperate need of a stem cell transplant.”
Around 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant each year. This is usually their last chance of survival and Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients.
For more information about Anthony Nolan, or to join the register, visit www.anthonynolan.org website.