Tablers in drive for bone marrow donors

MEMBERS of a Round Table were touched by the recent story in The Comet about a brother and sister celebrating the 25th Anniversary of a transplant. So touched, in fact, that members of Letchworth Round Table announced they will be organising an Anthony N

MEMBERS of a Round Table were touched by the recent story in The Comet about a brother and sister celebrating the 25th Anniversary of a transplant.

So touched, in fact, that members of Letchworth Round Table announced they will be organising an Anthony Nolan clinic at Plinston Hall, Letchworth, in March 2007.

The group want to drum up support for a cause that is also close to home.

Cliff Banks, Letchworth Round Table chairman, said: "2006 is the 20th anniversary of the association between the Round Table and The Anthony Nolan Trust. This together with the fact that a Letchworth Round Table member's wife needed a bone marrow transplant, prompted us into organising an Anthony Nolan recruitment clinic.

We had also noticed several articles cropping up in The Comet on this particular topic and thought the clinic could only add to the picture."

Helen Williams was the subject of one of the recent stories. Helen, 57, from Hitchin, donated bone marrow to her brother Paul 25 years ago.

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The transplant was a success and Paul, 51, has managed to win his fight against leukaemia.

Ian Poynter, one of the Tablers, said: "I hope you felt the emotional bonding and gratitude that must have been prevalent between the two siblings. The power of providing life to someone is of a magnitude that cannot be measured."

Helen told her story to encourage others to donate and is overjoyed at the Round Table's idea.

She said: "If my story did some good and makes people go that's great. That was the whole idea."

The group hopes to raise at least 40 names of people prepared to enlist before the registration day. They are also actively seeking a celebrity to support the cause.

The Trust and the Round Table have a history going back 30 years. Simon Dyson, president of the group in 1985, enlisted the help of hundreds of Tables around the country to hold clinics, recruiting over 100,000 new donors to the register, and have since helped raise funds to cover millions of pounds worth of costs.

The target age for joining the ANT register is between 18-40 years of age, a similar age group targeted by the Round Table. Young men and those from ethnic minorities are also desperately needed as at any one time there are approximately 7,000 people looking for suitable donors.

Alex Frazier, Anthony Nolan Trust spokesman, said: "We are delighted that Letchworth Round Table is organising a donor recruitment session in March 2007. We hope this clinic in Letchworth will inspire hundreds more young men to join our bone marrow register so we can take back more lives from leukaemia."

The registration process is simpler than many think, taking only half an hour to give a small sample of blood and fill in a form. Further tests are not needed unless a patient match is identified.

Dr Steve McEwan, chief executive of the Anthony Nolan Trust, said: "It would be wonderful if all young men in Letchworth considered registering as a bone marrow volunteer. It's an extremely positive act and you may be the one chance of life for a patient in need.

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