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Anthony Nolan and African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) launch campaign to boost the number of black donors

Jan 27

Anthony Nolan and ACLT have launched the #BeingAfricanCaribbean campaign to boost the number of black stem cell (or bone marrow) donors. The  campaign aims to tackle the donor shortage by educating elders and influencers, as well as young people, within black communities.

There are now 30 times more white people than African-Caribbean people on the bone marrow register, meaning that only around only 20% of black people will find a perfect match.  Results of a new survey suggest that the lack of black stem cell (or bone marrow) donors may be due to poor awareness, combined with the integral role that family networks play within African-Caribbean cultures.

The survey of 4,600 people revealed that:

  • just over one in three black respondents (37%) would be supportive if a young family member (16-21) wanted to donate stem cells, compared to nearly two-thirds (64%) of the overall sample.
  • over a third of black people surveyed (35%) felt that donating for 16-17 year olds should require parental permission and nearly one in four (24%) felt that people aged 16-21 are too young to make this decision alone – again, higher than average and other ethnic groups.
  • nearly one in ten black respondents (8%) said their family wouldn’t approve of donating stem cells – compared to just 1% of the total population, and 12% of black people also viewed donating stem cells as a ‘dangerous activity’, the highest of any ethnicity.
  • over a third (34%) of the older black generation, aged 35 and over, mistakenly associated donating stem cells with ‘cloning’, compared to just 18% of the overall sample.
  • just 18% of young black people aged 16-34 associated donating stem cells with ‘lifesaving’ and 14% associated it with ‘leukaemia’.
  • nearly one in five (18%) of the younger black generation have heard donating is painful, compared to 2% of those over 35.

To join the register you must be between 16 and 30, and you will remain on the register until you are 60.

For more information about the ‘Being African-Caribbean’ campaign and to join the Anthony Nolan register go to www.anthonynolan.org/africancaribbean. For more information about ACLT, go to www.aclt.org