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Charity urges shorter ‘contemplation window’ to boost stem cell transplants

Anthony Nolan has launched its Be A Lifesaver campaign, aimed at encouraging people to join the donor register, particularly young men.

People wait for more than a year to give blood or stem cells after making an initial decision to donate, a poll suggests.

The Anthony Nolan charity said there is a 15-month “contemplation window” – from the moment people first consider donation to when they finally sign up.

A poll of 2,000 Britons found that 15% were registered as blood donors and 2.9% had donated stem cells or bone marrow, or were registered to do so.

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The majority of registered stem cell donors said hectic work schedules and busy lives were to blame for the delay in signing up to the register.

Overall, the survey found that a third (31%) of Britons would consider donating their stem cells.

But according to Anthony Nolan, which holds a stem cell register matching donors to patients in need, only 2% of the UK population are registered as stem cell donors.

It said that decreasing the “contemplation window” could help increase the number of people on the stem cell register and improve the chances of finding the best match for patients who need a transplant.

The charity has launched its Be A Lifesaver campaign, which aims to encourage people to join the register, particularly young men.

Rebecca Pritchard, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said: “We want people to take time to consider, and understand, the commitment they’re making when they join the Anthony Nolan register; however, right now, there’s a shortage of young men on the Anthony Nolan register ready to, potentially, save a life.

“Young men provide more than 55% of all stem cell donations but make up just 16% of the stem cell register; if we can encourage more young men to make the decision to join, we will be able to save even more lives.”

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