THE charity DKMS is urging Solihull residents this Blood Cancer Awareness Month to September 30 to register as blood stem cell donors.
In the local area lifesaving registrations have dropped by a huge 78 per cent since the same time last year, compared to a national drop of 49 per cent.
The charity says there is now an urgent need for registrations to help meet the demand and reverse the shocking decline.
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and unknown to 67 per cent of people in the Midlands, it is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
A stem cell transplant can be the last hope of survival for patients and during the coronavirus outbreak, it is even more important to offer hope to people with devastating blood cancers and blood disorders, whose lives have also been harmed by the pandemic.
The survey found that while people want to help those with blood cancer, there is confusion and uncertainty about what blood stem cell donation is and what it entails.
In fact a blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can offer a second chance at life for those in need.
Only one in three people with blood cancer (and in need of a transplant) will find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family which means others need to look outside of this and rely on an altruistic stranger to help.
In fact around 90 per cent of all donations are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC), which is similar to the process of giving blood.
In this method, blood is taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine extracts the blood stem cells from it. The donor’s blood is then returned to them through their other arm. This is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in four to six hours.
If you can help, visit www.20for20.org.uk.