A RECOVERING leukaemia patient says she has ‘a renewed drive’ to make sure Burton’s ranking in a national league table is improved.
Last week, bone marrow transplant charity Anthony Nolan published figures which placed the constituency of Burton and Uttoxeter at number 515 out of 650 for the number of potential donors in the area.
The figures have been described as ‘disappointing’ by Balfour Street resident Katherine Sinfield, who received a bone marrow transplant herself last October.
The figures showed the Burton and Uttoxeter constituency has just 508 people on the Anthony Nolan register. It was overshadowed by every neighbouring constituency, with South Derbyshire having 556 registered and mid-Derbyshire topping the table locally with 627.
Katherine, who fronts the Burton Mail’s ‘Take Five Minutes’ campaign to recruit more donors, said: “When you consider that the Burton and Uttoxeter constituency has an electorate of more than 75,000 people, the figure of 508 potential donors is a cause for concern.”
Katherine has already started work on changing this figure, with an aim of getting Burton and Uttoxeter into the top 100 constituencies as soon as possible.
The 33-year-old said: “My plan is two-fold. Firstly I want to hold a mass-recruitment event in the town where anyone aged 16 to 30 who is in good health can spit in a tube and sign up.
“I want to involve as many faith groups as possible, as there is a drastic shortage of donors from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
“Secondly, I want to work with local sixth forms and colleges because education is key to improving donor numbers and students are in the ideal age bracket to sign up.
“If anyone has the question of ‘why should I?’, all I can say is that leukaemia doesn’t mind if you’re black, white, young or old. Once diagnosed, you’re playing Russian roulette when it comes to finding a suitable donor unless we improve the number of people on the register.”
Every 20 minutes somebody in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer. A large proportion of these people will rely on a bone marrow transplant to survive and, at present, the Anthony Nolan charity is only able to find a match for one in every two people, with the majority of donors coming from Germany or the USA.
Katherine said: “In my eyes these 508 registered donors in this area are heroes, just like the mystery German lady who donated her stem cells for my transplant.”
Katherine is urging anyone who would like more information or to get involved to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01283 524868, or visit the Anthony Nolan website at www.anthonynolan.org