DEVON & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are holding a donor day on the 5 September to raise awareness of Leukaemia - cancer of the blood.
The inspiration for the day came about after Firefighter Jason Worthington was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (Philadelphia+).
Jason is currently an outpatient at Torbay Hospital where he is undergoing chemotherapy treatment seven days a week. Later in the year he will be going to Derriford for a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant, at the moment Jason has a mismatched donor - being mismatched due to lack of a suitable donor is equally dangerous and could lead to serious life threatening complications.
Leading the campaign for the service is Station Manager, Dave Roddy from Torquay. Dave explains further: “I have a personal interest in encouraging people to become a donor, as my wife Jo and I have been registered for 25 years on the Anthony Nolan Trust donor transplant site after Jo’s brother and my uncle died of leukaemia. Once on the register you stay on until your 60.
“To register you give a saliva sample, and you go on their database register and if they think you have a match they contact you. This has happened to us three times now – the next stage is a blood test. This happened to Jo two years ago and she gave a bone marrow and stem cell donation which involved a three day hospital stay in London.
“I feel it is the least Jo and myself can do as either someone is either going to die or else like Jason be in a really difficult situation. The good thing about it is that after three years, if the recipient agrees you’re allowed to meet them. So from a personal point of view we find it a really inspiring and rewarding thing to do.
“We’re hoping by rising the profile of Jason’s situation there might be a small possibly that someone in the service will be a match for him.” The organisations are listed below and each has its own conditions for becoming a donor.
NHS - British Bone Marrow registry
The British Bone Marrow Registry is a division of NHS Blood and Transplant, working in co-operation with the other UK bone marrow/blood donor registries.
You must be aged between 18 and 49 years old (registered before your 50th birthday) and be a blood donor. You can join when you next give blood, or at the same time as your first donation. They check that there is no medical reason preventing you from being both a blood donor and a stem cell donor.
Stem cell donations from cord blood can be made at specialist hospitals within the NHS. For more information see www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cordblood/.
Anthony Nolan registry
People aged 16-30 can join their register. All they have to do is give a saliva sample, and go on their database. Then, each time someone needs a donor, they look through the database for a match.