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Dundee University students celebrate blood donor charity milestone

From left: Daniel Angelosanto, Joanna Iannetta, Lauren Crossley, Loukia Morari and Declan Dundas.
From left: Daniel Angelosanto, Joanna Iannetta, Lauren Crossley, Loukia Morari and Declan Dundas.

Volunteers from Dundee University are celebrating 20 years of students saving lives.

Students have worked with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan for two decades via its student volunteer network Marrow.

The Dundee Marrow branch has worked with the charity for 16 years.

In that time they have recruited nearly 2,000 potential stem cell donors to the UK stem cell register.

Dundee Marrow will hold a series of fundraising and donor recruitment events at the university as part of the year-long celebration.

It is hoped this will raise awareness of what blood cancer patients and their families go through.

They aim to get people from a range of backgrounds involved to help give hope for patients from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Patients from black, Asian or other ethnic minorities have just a 20% chance of finding the best stem cell match – compared to 69% for patients from a north European background.

Dundee Marrow has held more than 75 events to raise awareness of the work that Anthony Nolan does to support families and patients with blood cancer in the 16 years they’ve worked together.

From that, more than 15 students who signed up to the national register have gone on to donate stem cells to patients.

On average, people on the register have around a one in 800 chance of being asked to donate stem cells or bone marrow in the next five years.

Daniel Angelosanto, a fourth year anatomical sciences student and president of Dundee Marrow, said: “Twenty years of Marrow really is something to celebrate. We’re so proud and privileged to have been a part of the amazing lifesaving work that Anthony Nolan has done through Marrow over the years.

“We will be celebrating by making this year the biggest year in Dundee Marrow history. We aim to recruit even more lifesavers to the UK stem cell register that ever before.

“I would like to thank everyone who has joined the register over the last 16 years. You are all heroes.

“During freshers’ week this year, we met 117 potential donors at our stalls on campus – our biggest weekend ever.

“My experience with Marrow has been a driving force throughout my degree and has kept me inspired and motivated.”

There are Marrow groups in more than 55 universities across the UK and have recruited more than 130,000 to the register.

Marrow began in 1998 when James Kustow, a student at Nottingham University found out a childhood friend, Karen, had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

Charlotte Cunliffe, Marrow Programme lead, said: “Our work in universities is vital, because it allows us to reach a young and diverse group of people.

“We are excited about the next 20 years and are looking forward to spreading the word about the lifesaving potential of students on campuses across Dundee.”

To sign up to the register, visit the Anthony Nolan website.

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