Welsh national treasure, comedian, television presenter and proud Velindre Patron Rhod Gilbert is calling on 17-30 years olds to help patients with blood cancer by supporting the Welsh Blood Services’ ‘Chilled Out Lifesaver’ campaign to recruit 4,000 volunteer donors to its Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry over the next year.
The ‘Chilled-Out Lifesaver’ campaign is looking to recruit 4,000 new volunteers to join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry this year. The campaign highlights how simple it is to join the Registry and donate bone marrow if called upon.
Rhod is currently recovering from head and neck cancer, having received radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment at Velindre Cancer Centre.
Speaking of the campaign, the 54-year-old from Carmarthen said, “Velindre has been a big part of my life; I have been a patron for the past 10 years, so imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer myself! I thought being involved with Velindre fundraising would have given me lifelong immunity!” he joked.
“The fact is however that one in two of us will get cancer at some point during our lifetime, so I would urge everyone to do whatever we can, whenever we can to help. Joining the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry is giving someone, somewhere in the world who has blood cancer a chance to make a full recovery and to spend more precious time with their friends and loved ones.
“I would encourage everyone to take a look at the Welsh Blood Service website to find out more and to support this worthwhile cause.”
Annually, over 50,000 patients across the globe hope to find a suitable bone marrow match from an unrelated donor. Bone marrow donor registries all over the world are searched every day by clinicians looking for suitable donor matches for their blood cancer patients.
Currently, three in ten patients needing a bone marrow transplant will not find a suitable donor and if the patient is from a black, Asian or of a mixed ethnicity background, finding a matching donor can be as low as 30 per cent.
Head of the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry, Christopher Harvey, said: “Only one in four patients in need of a bone marrow transplant will find a suitable donor within their family which is why we rely on the generosity and dedication of unrelated volunteer donors.
“For patients all over the world in need of a transplant, finding a matched donor on the Registry is priceless. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky in this search which is why we need more volunteers aged 17 to 30.
“Please consider signing up to the Registry this World Blood Cancer Day if you can, it has never been easier. You can request a swab kit without leaving home through the Welsh Blood Service website or book to give blood and ask about joining when you donate.
“Anyone can get involved in the campaign which is why having the support of people like Rhod is so important. You can support the Registry by sharing our stories or social media content or by encouraging 17–30-year-olds to join our incredible community of volunteer donors.”
If you are aged between 17 and 30, visit welshblood.org.uk to start your journey in the fight against blood cancer.