What made you join the bone marrow register?
My best friend was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2006 and required a bone marrow transplant to save his life. Thankfully a match was found via The Anthony Nolan Trust and the transplant was successful and my friend has made a full recovery.
Having experienced first hand the amazing work The Anthony Nolan Trust do I felt it was the least I could do to help them help others. I also wanted to help fund raise for them so having previously completed the Great North Run raising funds for Leukemia Research in 2008 I was ready for my next big challenge. At the same time as signing up to join the bone marrow register I entered the ballot for the 2011 London Marathon. A few months later I was fortunate enough to be allocated a place and I decided to make the most of this opportunity by collecting donations for The Anthony Nolan Trust. I am proud to say that I completed the marathon on 17th April 2011 and raised £1,500.00 for the charity.
What did you have to do to join the register?
It was really simple to join. I registered online and was sent a saliva sample kit in the post within a few days; and that was it! Shortly afterwards I received my confirmation letter and membership card.
How did you sign up to give blood?
I registered at http://www.blood.co.uk/ and found my local donation venue, made an appointment and it's as simple as that!
How does it feel to give blood?
It really doesn't hurt. After the needle is inserted (which feels like a small pin prick) there is no discomfort at all. It's takes approx 30 minutes to give 3/4 pint of blood. You are advised not to lift with that arm for 8 hours afterwards and to avoid alcohol for the same period. You are always offered tea and biscuits afterwards and they request you wait 15 minutes before leaving.
How often are you required to give blood?
Men can donate their blood every 12 weeks (women 16 weeks). I have donated 5 times now and am planning to keep going into the future.
Was it painful to donate blood?
Not at all. You feel a little pin prick in your arm as they insert the needle and then there is no discomfort at all.
Has seeing your best friend battle this illness changed your life in any way? If so, how?
It certainly has. It has made me aware of the good work all charities in general do not just the ones I have direct connections with. Through my fund raising I hope to raise even more awareness for all the charities I support.
Would you encourage other people to join the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register?
I would 100% recommend this. It is so simple to register and knowing that you can save someone's life is an amazing feeling.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking about joining the register and/or giving blood?
Please do both. It is so simple to do, painless and rewarding. You can register for both online http://www.blood.co.uk/ and http://www.anthonynolan.org/
Bpositive supporter Bradley Holmes tells us what inspired him to not only give blood, but also to join the bone marrow register for the Anthony Nolan Trust.
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