At Westminster this week, James Arbuthnot, MP for North East Hampshire, called for more teenage lifesavers to help save lives. James is backing Anthony Nolan’s ‘Save a Life At 16’ campaign in a bid to help the charity save the lives of more blood cancer patients.
The charity is trying to persuade HMRC to include details of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register when it writes to young people with their National Insurance numbers in advance of their 16th birthdays.
The charity has pledged to cover all associated costs and hopes this would encourage more 16-year-olds to join the register. This is important as young people are more likely to be chosen as stem cell donors by transplant doctors.
The charity hopes that if young people are informed about the chance to save the lives of people with cancers such as leukaemia, many more will step forward to register, with an increase of up to 25 per cent in the number of young donors predicted.
James has written to HMRC and the Public Health Minister to ask them to support the plan, and said today:
“This simple move may prompt some of young people to think about helping save the lives of others. If even one person joins this register and donates stem cells, this effort is worth its while.”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Every year in the UK around 2,000 people with blood cancer need stem cell donations from a stranger. We believe young people are passionate about helping others, but they also need to be well informed about the chances open to them.
“By agreeing to our proposal, the government can make it easier for people as young as 16 to become lifesavers.”