Bilborough College celebrates 10-year link with bone marrow donor campaign by signing up 1000th student

Bilborough College has celebrated a 10-year link with a lifesaving bone marrow donor initiative by signing up its 1,000th student to the programme.

Register & Be a Lifesaver sessions were launched at Bilborough College in 2009 and from the 1,095 students who have signed up there have been seven donors.

The most recent was Amy Rogers, 18, of Sherwood, who donated her bone marrow in October 2016 after signing up to the register following an R&Be talk at Bilborough College in 2014. She was also the 50th donor from the R&Be programme.

Student Ethan Buttress became the UK’s youngest bone marrow donor to a non-related recipient at the age of 17 in 2014 after signing up to R&Be at Bilborough College.

Martina Thorpe, 16, of Underwood, became the 1,000th student to sign up to the programme at a session held in college last week.

She said: “We had a talk in college about Register and Be a Lifesaver and I just thought it’s something so small to do but it could save someone’s life. I think if I got the call to be a donor it wouldn’t feel real but it’s something that you just have to do. All of my friends have signed up as well. It felt a bit strange to be the 1,000th student, I wasn’t expecting that.”

During the sign-up sessions, students complete a medical questionnaire and swab the inside of their cheeks which allows potential donors’ tissue to be compared with tissue from someone who needs a transplant.

Register & Be a Lifesaver (R&Be) educates 16-18 year olds about stem cell, blood and organ donation. It is the legacy of Adrian Sudbury, a former student of Bilborough College.

Adrian’s father Keith Sudbury founded R&Be, together with his wife Kay, after Adrian died of leukaemia in 2008.

Keith, of Nottinghamshire, delivers presentations in college every year with his team of Midlands volunteers.

He said: “‘Adrian went to Bilborough College. After Adrian died, Bilborough College was the first college that we contacted. We are very proud to have been raising awareness about blood, stem cell and organ donation through our Register & Be a Lifesaver programme at Bilborough College for the past 10 years’”

Alison Lardi supports Keith co-ordinating the programme at Bilborough College and is a Biology teacher and Careers and Progression Manager who taught both Adrian and Amy.

She said: “For 10 years now the college has been proud to be part of the Register and Be a Lifesaver (R&Be) campaign.

“Volunteers from ASSET (Adrian Sudbury Schools’ Education Trust), led by Adrian’s father, Keith Sudbury, have been in year 12 tutor groups, giving ‘R&Be’ presentations.

“We are proud to say that today, the 1,000th Bilborough College student signed up for the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. Seven students and ex-students have been donors so far, so we potentially have many more possible matches to come, and more lives saved.”

Chris Bradford, Bilborough’s Principal, said: “In celebrating this landmark we’re drawing attention to Adrian’s legacy and the fantastic work of ASSET which has involved so many of our students. We’re all immensely grateful and proud to be associated with their achievements and the difference that the programme has made to people’s lives.”

For more information about the Register & Be a Lifesaver programme contact enqu[email protected]