Frequently asked questions
Who or what is Leeds Marrow?
Leeds Marrow is a student branch of Anthony Nolan run entirely by volunteers from Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University. We are dedicated to finding matching donors for patients with blood cancers such as Leukaemia and other blood malignancies like Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. This is done by recruiting people to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.
Why are bone blood stem cell transplants so important?
The stem cells found in your bone marrow are incredibly important because they give rise to the red blood cells which carry oxygen in the blood, white blood cells which are immune cells that are required for fighting off infection and also platelets which act to form blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding.
Transplants become necessary for a patients survival when these stem cells become damaged or are destroyed. For example, when chemotherapy is used in the treatment of leukaemia the stem cells can be destroyed and need to be replaced by a stem cell transplant.That you will be on the register until you are 60 and you should be fully committed to donating whether it is in 2 years or in 20 years. You should also be aware of the two different methods of donation in case you are asked to donate. Information on these donation methods can be found here.
What happens when I register?
Joining the register is very simple you can pop along to one of our recruitment events or meet up with one of our volunteers. More information can be found here.
What if I can’t join the register?
If you can’t join the register you can still help us in our cause. Such as volunteering, fundraising or by encouraging others to join the bone marrow register. More info can be found here.
Is donating painful?
It is a common misconception that donating is a very painful procedure but both methods of donation are relatively pain-free. Some donors have compared the after effects to after moderate-heavy exercise.
It is likely you may be able to as there is different criteria for joining. You can check the medical exclusion criteria to check to see if you can join the register.
Is Leeds Marrow a charity?
Yes we a fully registered charity that is a branch of Anthony Nolan.
How is Leeds Marrow affiliated with Anthony Nolan?
Leeds Marrow is one of 40 student led groups found in Universities throughout the UK. We work alongside Anthony Nolan to recruit people to the register and also fundraise for Anthony Nolan. The money that Leeds Marrow raises goes to Anthony Nolan. They use this money to pay the costs of adding someone to the register and also towards research into improving the success of transplants.
How does the register work?
The register is comprised of a database containing the tissue type and details of person who has joined the register. When someone needs a stem cell transplant this database is searched for a matching donor. The database is used worldwide as a means of finding a donor.
Who can become a donor?
To join the register the register you have to be between 16 and 30. Once signed up you will be on the register until you are 60. You simply need to be in good health and fully committed to donating if you are chosen. However there are some medical exclusion criteria that will prevent you from donating which can be found here.
Does every patient find a matching donor?
Unfortunately despite the many donations that are carried out thanks to the Anthony Nolan register, there are still not enough matching donors for patients. This is because sometimes patients have a particularly rare tissue type which makes it difficult to find a match. This is why there is an urgent need for more people to sign up to the register, in order to create a larger and more diverse register that accommodates for those patients with rarer tissue types.
What is a tissue type?
The tissue type is what determines whether a donor’s stem cells will be compatible with a patient. A person’s tissue type is determined by six genes A, B, C, DRB1, DQB1 and DPB1. Together these six genes are collectively known as the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA). Unfortunately, each of these genes are highly variable making it extremely unlikely that one person’s HLA will match someone else’s. This is why there is such a great need for an expansive and diverse register.
Do you run fundraising events?
Yes, Leeds Marrow runs many fundraising events throughout the year. More information on how to become involved can be found here.