Emma at heart of donors drive

Emma Lund is hoping North Yorkshire residents will sign up as donors.
Emma Lund is hoping North Yorkshire residents will sign up as donors.

A woman from Kirby Misperton is urging people to make a commitment to helping those with blood cancers.

Emma Lund, who is a University of Nottingham postgraduate student, is asking North Yorkshire residents to register as potential blood stem cell donors.

Emma, 26, tried to give blood back in 2015 but because she was anaemic she was advised by the head nurse not to donate.

Feeling hopeless but undeterred, she was keen to see what other ways she could help.

After searching the internet for organisations involved with blood cancer, she discovered DKMS and registered as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Later, she met Patrick Ryan, DKMS donor recruitment project manager, which led to her being appointed DKMS student ambassador at the University of Nottingham.

Emma, now in the final year as the DKMSambassador, believes people should make registering as a blood stem cell donor their New Year’s resolution because it’s achievable and once registered, each day you are on standby to be a potential donor – an amazing daily achievement.

Emma said: “If you’re finding it difficult sticking to your own New Year’s resolutions, why not make it about charity this year?

“Whether it’s a hosting a #LetsNailBloodCancer manicure party, raising awareness or fundraising, thinking of others is highly rewarding; it has helped keep me motivated to achieve my goals as student ambassador.”

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK but less than half of the UK population are aware of blood cancer issues.

A blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can often be the best hope of survival, but only one in three people in need of a transplant will find a matching donor in their own family.

Finding a matching donor isn’t easy. Every year, approximately 3,000 new searches are initiated in the UK for an unrelated matching donor.

Emma, who was awarded a University of Nottingham Student’s Union Inspirational Students Award 2017, for volunteering, helped to swab 461 potential lifesavers at her university which holds the record for the most donors registered at any educational institution.

So far, more than 400 second chances at life have been provided by DKMS UK and volunteers like Emma.

Patrick Ryan said: “Emma has been a fantastic advocate of our charity. Even after being knocked off her bicycle and unable to walk for two months she was determined to recover in time to participate in TrekFest.

“She proves even a small amount of time can make a huge difference to people with blood cancers and it can be both really interesting and rewarding.

“This year, we would encourage people to make a New Year’s resolution that’s out of routine and focus on what makes a difference to the lives of others.”

Go to www.dkms.org.uk/en for more information about the donor drive.