Who are Brunel Marrow?

No, we’re not a society for people who can’t get enough of the dark green vegetable. We’re actually interested in a different kind of marrow, the stuff you find in your bones because for some, that marrow can be the difference between life and death. We are a student run branch of Anthony Nolan, a charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancers and other blood disorders every day. Anthony Nolan match incredible donors willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people with blood cancer and blood disorders who desperately need lifesaving transplants.

What do Brunel Marrow do? 

Our aim is to sign people, like you, onto the Anthony Nolan register. Why? Because, young people make the best donors! You’re healthy, active and can stay on the register until you’re 60!

Not only that, but we also fundraise for Anthony Nolan. Adding people to the register is expensive. It costs around £100 to add just one person so that’s why you may have seen us running around campus dressed as superheroes for Anthony Nolan’s ‘Hero Day’ or spotted pictures of us struggling through mud when we completed ‘The Major Series’, a 12km military style obstacle race, in order to raise important funds (by the way our amazing runners raised over £1500!). This academic year an amazing 165 Brunelians joined the register through our events but we want to make that number even higher!

Isn’t donating bone marrow painful?

 This is a very common myth! You’ll be under general anaesthetic so there won’t be any pain during the procedure, though afterwards, you’ll probably feel a bit tired and bruised, and you might have to take a few days rest. To be a match for someone you need to have the same tissue type (HLA type) so it’s very hard to find a match. The first place to start searching is within the family and 30% of people needing a transplant do get one from a relative. However, that means a massive 70% rely on a stranger to save their life. At the moment the current odds for being a match for someone is 1 in 1200 but because Marrow groups focus on recruiting young, fit donors it means that 1 in 100 people signed up by Marrow actually go on to donate. Unfortunately, at the moment Anthony Nolan can’t find matches for everyone who needs one, and that’s why it’s so important we sign more people onto the register.

Sounds great! How can I help?

You just have to be 16-30, weigh over 7st 12lbs (50kg) and be in good health to become a lifesaver! If you’re interested in joining the register we will be back on campus in September running recruitment events. Keep an eye on our Facebook (facebook.com/brunelmarrow) or Twitter (@BrunelMarrow) accounts to find out when our next event is. If you can’t wait until then you can also order a kit online which allows you to join the register from home - you can visit anthonynolan.org to find out more about this process.

We are also always eager to gain new volunteers. Running recruitment and fundraising events is a lot of work and volunteers are crucial in ensuring they happen. Our volunteers help in everything from planning the events, to ordering supplies and even counselling people who want to join the register. If you would like to get involved in the society next year, please contact us on social media or email brunel@ukmarrow.org.

Marrow groups now exist in over 40 UK universities, as well as 7 more internationally. So why not spread the word and help ensure that everyone who needs a lifesaving transplant can get one!