Young donor urges oth­ers to fol­low in her foot­steps

Macclesfield Express - - CHARITY ROUND-UP -

ASTUDENT who be­came the youngest ever bone mar­row donor is call­ing on oth­ers to fol­low suit.

Vic­to­ria Rath­mill, 20, was just 17 when she signed up for the An­thony Nolan Stem Cell Donor Reg­is­ter af­ter hear­ing a talk at her school.

The for­mer All Hal­lows pupil is now one of 50 peo­ple who have gone on to do­nate po­ten­tially life­sav­ing stem cells as a re­sult of the pro­gramme.

Reg­is­ter & Be a Life­saver (R&Be) ed­u­cates 16-18 year olds about stem cell, blood and or­gan do­na­tion.

It is run by blood can­cer char­ity An­thony Nolan and is the le­gacy of Adrian Sud­bury, a for­mer stu­dent of Bil­bor­ough Col­lege.

Adrian’s fa­ther Keith Sud­bury founded R&Be, to­gether with his wife Kay, af­ter Adrian died of leukaemia in 2008.

Vic­to­ria, cur­rently study­ing An­cient His­tory and Arche­ol­ogy Stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Liver­pool, said: ‘The pre­sen­ta­tion was at sixth form, I was in year 12 at the time. I had a fam­ily friend di­ag­nosed with leukaemia so the pre­sen­ta­tion hit a nerve.

“I joined be­cause I knew what fam­i­lies of those with leukaemia go through, it was much about spar­ing the fam­i­lies of any more pain as sav­ing those with the disease.”

She added: “The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing. I ended up do­nat­ing twice, over two days.

“Af­ter the first day my mum and I went to watch Wicked on the west end. The day af­ter I headed home and had my par­ents wait on me hand and foot - it was amaz­ing!

“An­thony Nolan is an amaz­ing char­ity who do an aw­ful lot in terms of fundrais­ing and match­ing donors to re­cip­i­ents. To any­one thinking of sign­ing up, do it.

“The feel­ing after­wards is amaz­ing.

“Less than a month later I was told I was the youngest non rel­a­tive stem cell donor in the world, some­thing which I was ex­tremely moved by.”

Henny Braund, chief ex­ec­u­tive of An­thony Nolan, said: “The R&Be pro­gramme has been an ab­so­lutely in­te­gral part of re­cruit­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of po­ten­tial life­savers.

“We are so pleased that the pro­gramme has pro­duced its 50th donor, and no doubt count­less oth­ers who have signed up through R&Be will go on to po­ten­tially save the life of some­one in des­per­ate need of a stem cell trans­plant.”

Around 2,000 peo­ple in the UK need a stem cell or bone mar­row trans­plant each year.

This is usu­ally their last chance of survival and An­thony Nolan uses its reg­is­ter to match po­ten­tial stem cell donors to blood can­cer patients.

Ninety pc of do­na­tions take place via pe­riph­eral blood stem cell (PBSC) col­lec­tion. This is a pro­ce­dure sim­i­lar to giv­ing blood. It takes around 5 hours, and is a sim­ple out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure.

Peo­ple aged be­tween 16–30 and in good health can sign up to the An­thony Nolan reg­is­ter.

For more in­for­ma­tion about An­thony Nolan, or to join the reg­is­ter, visit www.an­tho­nynolan.org.

Vic­to­ria Rath­mill, from Mac­cles­field, was the youngest ever bone mar­row trans­plant donor

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