Bone marrow is a soft tissue found in the centre of certain bones in your body, which creates stem cells. Stem cells are the 'building blocks', which can grow into any of the other normal blood cells such as red cells, which carry oxygen, white cells, which fight infection, or platelets which stop bleeding.
There are a number of diseases that prevent a patient’s bone marrow from working properly, including leukaemia and other diseases of the immune system. Although chemotherapy successfully treats some patients, for many a stem cell transplant from a healthy donor is the only possibility of a cure.
In about 30% of cases, a matched donor can be found from within the patient’s family, however, the other 70% of patients have to rely on a matched volunteer donor, identified through the British Bone Marrow Registry or partners Anthony Nolan or DKMS. There is an urgent need for donors from minority ethnic backgrounds to help more black, Asian and minority ethnic people in need of lifesaving transplants.
How do I donate?
Further information on bone marrow donation is available on NHSBT website and Anthony Nolan website.
How can I join the register?
In general, those blood donors aged 16 and over can join register via NHSBT or partners such as Anthony Nolan. You can stay on the register until you reach the age of 60.
You can join when you next give blood, or at the same time as your first donation. A check to make sure that there is no medical reason preventing you from being both a blood donor and a stem cell donor will be carried out.