School makes donor history

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CARING teenagers at Hucknall National Church of England Academy have made history.

The 16-year-olds have become the youngest people ever to sign up to a global network of those willing to donate their bone marrow to save the lives of blood-cancer victims.

The academy held a special recruitment event, when 16 and 17-year-old students were able to sign up as bone-marrow donors for the first time.

The event follows recent changes by the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, allowing people to sign up to its UK-based register from the atge of 16.

Last month National students were given a presentation by Keith Sudbury, regional mentor for the trust’s education project, Register and Be a Lifesaver (R&Be), which explains the importance of blood, organ and stem-cell donation.

Keith’s son, Adrian, set this up after being diagnosed with luekaemia in 2006 and the project received widespread support all over the UK.

“It is so good that 16 and 17-year-olds can now join the register,” said Keith.

The academy principal, Dr John Edwards, who has supported the project for the last two years, said: “It’s great that our young people wish to support this excellent cause.

“The issue has touched the lives of many, including several in our school community.”

The trust’s chief executive, Henny Bround, said research had shown that young people made better donors.

She claimed: “Lives are lost if there is a delay when someone from the register is matched with a blood-cancer patient. Elder donors may no longer be able to donate because they may have developed heart disease or diabetes. This means we must start a search all over again.”

The Anthony Nolan Trust works closely with the Jack Petchey Foundation to raise awareness of bone-marrow disease.

A spokesman said: “We work with thousands of motivated young people who really want to help others. Those under 18 have been really frustrated to find they could not sign the register immediately.”