Swab a cheek to save a life | Leukaemia Foundation

Swab a cheek to save a life

On World Marrow Donor Day 2019 (21 September) the Leukaemia Foundation joined forces with the Australian Donor Registry to raise awareness of the importance of stem cell donors and to encourage Aussies to help others by ‘swabbing a cheek to save a life’.

Donors help conquer blood cancer

Every day 41 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer and each year more than 600 people living with blood cancer will need an allogeneic stem cell transplant to survive. Almost 70 per cent of those in need of a transplant will rely on a complete stranger to donate their cells through the Registry to be able to conquer their blood cancer.

The Registry is currently unable to meet the needs of Australian patients, which means most of them must look for an overseas donor to be able to receive their vital treatment. In some cases, patients who have indigenous heritage or are from communities not well represented in international registries, a suitable donor cannot be found.

You have the Strength to Give

The Australian Donor Registry has launched Strength to Give, to encourage 5,000 young men aged 18-30 from a diverse group of ethnic backgrounds to register to be a stem cell donor. Younger male donors result in better outcomes for patients and increase their chances of finding the best possible match.

Jack’s special powers!

Jack Jacobson stem cell donor

When the Registry called and said I had been matched I felt like I had a unique opportunity to really help someone in need. It’s not often you get that sort of call.

The recipient didn’t need just anyone’s cells but specifically my cells because these had the best chance of success. I think this appeals to the little bit of vanity in all of us – almost as if donors have special powers in a time of need. But it also meant I was 100% committed to making the donation and I did not begrudge the minor aches and pains that came with it.

When I think about it now I know I was in a wonderfully privileged position to help the recipient, and I wholeheartedly hope they are well.

Jack Jacobson, stem cell donor

It all starts with a swab

Becoming a donor is easy, just register your details at lf.strengthtogive.org.au and a swab test will be sent to you. Once this is returned, you’ll be placed on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. How easy is that!

Posted on September 19th, 2019

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.

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