Ulster GAA hosted a Staff Health Day at the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence in Garvaghy last week where they welcomed the charity Anthony Nolan as the key address.
The Anthony Nolan charity makes lifesaving connections between patients and strangers ready to donate their stem cells. Stem cell and bone marrow donations are so vitally important, as often transplants of this nature are the last hope for someone who would otherwise die from a life-threatening blood disorder.
Following several years of low-key connections between Ulster GAA and Anthony Nolan, the event marks the official launch of the invaluable partnership. The aim for Anthony Nolan to create greater awareness of stem cell and bone marrow donations, while encouraging more people to register as donors. Ulster GAA staff were given the opportunity to sign-up to the global donor database on the day.
To date, a number of GAA clubs have got involved by hosting Donor Recruitment Events in their club, in response to a local appeal; and it is hoped that many more GAA clubs will now get involved.
Recruitment through GAA clubs are of particular value because, although anyone aged 16- 61 years old can register as a donor, male donors aged 16-30 years old are most sought after. With Anthony Nolan, people can register as a donor between the ages of 16-30 and will stay on the register until they’re 61. For people who are 31-55, they can sign up with DKMS instead.
Hosting a Donor Recruitment Event at a GAA club is straight-forward and Anthony Nolan volunteers will come along to your club to take care of everything. The event costs nothing to run, and will possibly give someone in your community the chance to save a life by becoming a donor.
Holly Gooch, Partnerships Manager with Anthony Nolan, commented: “We’re so excited that Ulster GAA are partnering with Anthony Nolan, to help give even more people a second chance at life. Signing up to the register is easy – all it takes is less than 10 minutes to fill in a quick online form and do a few cheek swabs, and is the first step in potentially saving a life.
“We know that young men are more likely to be chosen to donate their stem cells, so this partnership is an incredible step in making sure everyone who needs a stem cell transplant gets a second chance at life.”
Ulster GAA CEO/Provincial Secretary Brian McAvoy said;
“Given our community base and wide membership range it is a natural fit for Ulster GAA to ‘team-up’ with Anthony Nolan. In particular, the high numbers of young adult males involved on our games makes us a highly attractive partner.
“Signing the stem cell donor register is a relatively simple process and I encourage all our members to play their part and, potentially, help save the life of someone else. Moving forward, Ulster GAA looks forward to building our links with and promoting the good work of Anthony Nolan.”
More information about Anthony Nolan can be found at www.anthonynolan.org
Clubs in the 26 counties can encourage their members to register on the Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry: www.giveblood.ie/bone-marrow/