Hundreds of Bilborough College students sign up to save a life

Hundreds of Bilborough College students signed up to potentially save a life during a donor drive session held by a national blood cancer charity.

Anthony Nolan’s Register & Be a Lifesaver sessions have been running at Bilborough College for six years and during that time 865 students have joined the register – including 124 at a recent session.

Amy Rogers
Amy Rogers

Over the six years there have been three donors from Bilborough College, the most recent being Amy Rogers, 18, of Sherwood. Amy 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.

During the sign-up sessions, students complete a medical questionnaire and spit into a small tube which allows potential donors’ tissue to be compared with tissue from someone who needs a transplant.

Student Bethany Duncalf, 16, of Hucknall, signed up to the R&Be programme in college.

She said: “I think it’s really important that people sign up. It’s a very simple process and it could save a life; it’s definitely worth doing. I really hope that I’m a match for someone.”

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.

Bethany Duncalf, 16
Bethany Duncalf, 16

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: “It’s been fantastic to see so many Bilborough students signing up following our presentations to Year 12. Each volunteer presenter talks about their own personal story in the presentations that they deliver. We have someone who has had a stem cell transplant and the volunteers talk about their personal stories in the presentations they deliver to students.

“The important thing is our basic principle that we are here to raise awareness and we would never force students to sign up to do something like this. They have to want to do it because if they are selected as a match we want them to go through with it.

“We’ve had three donors come from Bilborough College and 865 students register in the past six years which is great, especially with my personal connection through Adrian.”

Anthony Nolan 1

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: “We are delighted yet again to have such a great response from our students. R&Be volunteers have been presenting to Year 12 tutor groups for the past week to inform the students about the Anthony Nolan register, and the important, potentially lifesaving role they can play in someone’s treatment. We are proud to have been involved with R&Be since it began, and to be able to pay tribute to Adrian in such a positive way. We would strongly encourage other schools and colleges to get involved.”

David Gilbrook, 59, of Chesterfield, is a volunteer with the R&Be programme who has received a stem cell transplant.

He said: “Signing up is a simple process but it could help to save a life. I needed a transplant after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when I was 52. A donor was found and since then I have met her and we’ve become friends. If she hadn’t signed up to the register I wouldn’t be here now.”

For more information about the R&Be programme or how to join the Anthony Nolan Register, contact Katie Day on 0778 838 5474.