South Shields MP backs urgent call for stem cell donors

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has backed an urgent national call for young people to save lives by becoming stem cell donors.
Emma Lewell-Buck (right) with Meena Kumari-SharmaEmma Lewell-Buck (right) with Meena Kumari-Sharma
Emma Lewell-Buck (right) with Meena Kumari-Sharma

She said that with 2,000 people in the UK needing a stem cell transplant each year, there was a pressing need for potential donors to sign up.

And the Labour MP revealed it was young men - and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – who are most needed.

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Mrs Lewell-Buck spoke out after attending a cross-party Parliamentary event where she learnt about the work of the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register.

The Anthony Nolan charity targets the recruitment of 16 to 30-year-olds, with research showing younger people, especially men, are most likely to be suitable donors.

It is now working with two other campaign initiatives – the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign and #Match4Meena – to promote its work.

The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign was founded by a Leicestershire policeman who received a stem cell transplant via Anthony Nolan in 2011.

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And #Match4Meena supports Meena Kumari-Sharma, 41, who needs a stem cell transplant to treat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “This event highlighted the inequalities which remain for black, Asian and minority ethnic patients in need of donors and the vital work of the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign and #Match4Meena, working with Anthony Nolan.

“It’s hugely important that colleagues across Parliament come together to support this work to save the lives of more patients across the UK.

“It’s was wonderful to hear about the positive steps which have been taken to increase the number of potential stem cell donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.”

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Anthony Nolan also carries out research and supports patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists.

Meena said: "I represent one of over 2,000 people in the UK urgently searching for a donor and it is only with the sheer kindness of complete strangers that I can have a second chance at life.

“I am hopeful that with your help I will be able to watch my five-year-old twins grow up. Together we can all make a huge difference.”

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