Young donor urges others to follow in her footsteps
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