We need more bone marrow donors, particularly from the black community 05/02/2015 18:03:00
New research shows that black people are three times less likely than white people to find a bone marrow donor who is a perfect match. That’s why I’m backing a campaign to boost the number of African-Caribbean people on the donor register.
The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan recently revealed that there are 30 times more white people than African-Caribbean people on the register. As a result black people with leukaemia are less likely to survive as only 20% of them will find a perfect match due to a lack of donors (the closer the tissue match, the better the chances for the patient and you’re most likely to find a good match with someone in the same ethnic group). It’s vital that we grow and diversify the bone marrow register. People’s lives literally depend on it.
I’m hoping people in Croydon, particularly from the African-Caribbean community, will get behind this important campaign to reach out and help strangers who are in desperate need of a stem cell donor.
The research suggests the lack of black people who are willing to donate stem cells from their bone marrow may be due to poor awareness and attitudes within the community.
Nearly one in ten black respondents (8%) said their family wouldn’t approve of donating stem cells – compared to just 1% of the total population. 12% of black people viewed donating stem cells as a ‘dangerous activity’, higher than among any other ethnic group. Over a third (34%) of black people aged 35 and over mistakenly associated donating stem cells with ‘cloning’. That’s why I’ve also written to Croydon’s BME forum and asked them to join me in supporting and promoting this important campaign and help promote this cause.
Having had cancer myself as a child, I’m very proud to champion this cause to my constituents so that more people, particularly from the black community can find their lifesaving match.
To join the register you must be between 16 and 30 and you will remain on the register until you are 60.