The Welsh Blood Service is calling on 17-30 year olds to become ‘chilled out lifesavers’ by joining its Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (WBMDR).
Latest research shows that the chances of finding a potential lifesaving match are just six in ten for Caucasian people and two in ten for people from a British, Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) background.
A common misconception is that a match will be found from a brother or sister. However, only one in four people will potentially find a suitable bone marrow match from a sibling, which means that three in four people will rely upon the kindness of a stranger to receive a lifesaving donation. The figures show why it is so important to ensure as many people living in Wales sign up to the WBMDR and increase the chances for those in need to find that lifesaving match.
The call for people to join the register follows the launch of the WBMDR’s chilled out lifesaver campaign in November. The new campaign aims to encourage people aged 17-30 to ask to join the register the next time they donate blood, making it the most chilled out way to save a life.
The campaign uses illustrations depicting some of the most life-threatening ways to save a life – saving a baby from a crocodile in shark infested water, rescuing an old woman from a zombie apocalypse and saving cute rabbits from the clutches of rabid monkeys.
Emma Cook, Head of the Welsh Bone Marrow Registry, said: “We’ve all seen the action-packed movies where courageous heroes go to extreme lengths to save a life. In the real world, becoming a lifesaver can actually be a pretty chilled out process.
“Any 17-30 year old in Wales that would like to make a real difference someone’s life can attend a Welsh Blood Service donation session, give a unit of blood and sign-up to a register of bone marrow donors who are only ever called upon if they are a potential match for a patient in need.
“The chances of a bone marrow volunteer being matched with a patient is rare, but in those cases where a donor is a potential match, the outcome can be the difference between life and death. The more bone marrow donors that join the registry, the better the chances that a patient in need might find their life saver.
“If 17-30 year olds are looking to make a real difference to someone’s life, visiting a Welsh Blood Service clinic and ask about joining the register could be a great way to start.
The chilled out lifesaver campaign will continue with a series of pop up ‘chill-out’ zones at universities across Wales, where students wanting to join the bone marrow register can relax in front of a movie, read magazines and eat some popcorn while learning more about how they can help.
There are a number of blood donation clinics scheduled across Wales over the coming weeks where donors can start their #ChilledOutLifesaver journey. Simply book an appointment to give blood and join the bone marrow register by visiting welsh-blood.org.uk or calling the Welsh Blood Service on 0800 252266.