THE Examiner’s librarian Stephen spends quite a bit of his time trawling through our archives.
His research occasionally unearths items of nostalgic interest to those of us who have been writers here for longer than we care to remember.
The other day he found a feature written by my good self on the British Bone Marrow Appeal, now Anthony Nolan register.
At the time, October 1986, there was an appeal for more potential donors to come forward. I had been asked by the local Round Table if I would donate a blood sample and sign onto the register, then write about it to encourage others.
In those days the register stood at 70,000 and the aim was to boost it to 100,000.
Today, there are more than 400,000 names on the register and more than 3,000 bone marrow transplants take place every year.
The charity is yet another example of what one person with a good heart and powerful motivation can achieve.
It was founded by Shirley Nolan, the mother of Anthony Nolan.
When her son was born in 1971 he had a rare condition called Wiskott Adrich. The only cure was a bone marrow transplant but at the time there was no way to find and match a donor.
Shirley created the National Bone Marrow Register in 1974 to help people with leukaemia and other diseases that can be treated with a transplant. Unfortunately, it was too late to save Anthony, who died at the age of eight.
Although the register is now well established it needs ‘new blood’ all the time in order to swell the pool of potential donors.
At the moment it can only help half of those who need a transplant. Men aged 18-30 are more likely to be chosen to donate, but they currently account for just 12% of donors on the register.
I have yet to be called upon to donate bone marrow but my name will remain on the register until I am 60. Joining up involved no more than giving a small blood sample.
If you would like to help register online at wwww.anthonynolan.org