A blood cancer charity has thanked student volunteers at the University of Warwick who were among the many who helped the charity over the past year.
Anthony Nolan is saying thanking students from 40 UK university ‘Marrow’ societies, who have recruited more than 1,000 students to its stem cell donor register, and raised £26,293 this academic year, despite the cancellation of almost all events due to the pandemic.
‘Marrow’ is the name given to Anthony Nolan’s network of student volunteer groups.
Over the last academic year, since September 2020, 1,167 potential stem cell donors have been signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register by Marrow volunteers.
Unable to hold events, Marrow groups used their social media channels and marketing across university campuses to reach out to students at the university, to let them know about the Anthony Nolan register and how they could one day save a life.
Marrow groups also hold various fundraising events throughout the year, however due to the pandemic they haven’t been able to rely on their usual fundraising methods and have had to be particularly creative with their fundraising ideas.
One of these groups is Warwick Marrow, who raised £3,091 this year.
Warwick Marrow committee member, Chloe, said: "Our Raise A Swab campaign was our biggest fundraiser.
"It was easy to feel disconnected from each other during lockdown and Raise a Swab was a way to bring us all back together doing what we love."
Joining the Anthony Nolan register involves a simple cheek swab, but the organisation, postage, and processing of the swab in a lab costs the charity £40 per person.
Chloe added: "Every person involved in the campaign had a target of raising £40, the cost of putting a potential donor on the register.
"We had two people do a three-legged 5km race, another person played the harp every day for a week and others ran 75km.
"The campaign provided a great opportunity for people to show off their niche talents."
Krishna Gokani, Warwick Marrow fundraising officer, said: "This year has been really tough on everyone and we had to find new creative ways of fundraising.
"Warwick Marrow has been so amazing in keeping us motivated throughout the year and we could not have done it without everyone. We are so excited to see what next year brings.”
Charlotte Hughes, Marrow volunteer engagement manager at Anthony Nolan, said: "Marrow really are the unsung heroes. This year has been unlike no other, yet they have continued to work hard throughout the year, alongside their studies, raising money and signing up potential donors to the stem cell register.
"For many people with blood cancers or blood disorders, receiving stem cells from a stranger will be their last chance of a cure, so the work done by Marrow societies is invaluable, particularly because young people are most likely to be chosen to donate.
"In the last two years, over a quarter of stem cell donations were from donors recruited by Marrow. "