Sign up to save lives
Advertiser sports reporter Warwick Lane is calling on people to potentially save lives by joining the stem cell register.
The 25-year-old, of Norwell, is teaming up with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan in a bid to find matches for people across the world.
Warwick is currently battling leukaemia for a second time.
As part of his treatment, he will have a stem cell transplant, which it is hoped will prevent further recurrence of leukaemia.
Warwick will receive cells from a healthy person, with the same tissue type, to replace and repair his own damaged cells.
“My doctors have told me that I have a healthy number of matches for my bone marrow, which has taken a huge weight off my mind,” Warwick said.
“I consider myself one of the lucky ones. There will be people like me out there who will be hoping and praying that a match comes through.
“If fate has decided that I’m going to have to beat this illness for a second time, then I want to do it knowing I’ve helped and positively impacted as many people as I can.”
Fliers promoting the Anthony Nolan charity will be distributed in bags at the end of this weekend’s Newark Half-marathon, where he was due to run, and the charity will have a team there with swabs to get as many people signed up as possible.
People can also sign up online.
Similar plans are being considered for the Bassingham Bash on September 1, where Warwick was also due to run.
“People often ask me what they can do to help,” Warwick said. “I’m not the kind of person who asks for much from others but seeing people get behind this and on the donors list would be incredibly humbling.”
Anyone joining Warwick’s campaign can spread the message on social media using the hashtag #WarwicksWarriors
“I have made some great friendships with people in the sporting world during the years I have worked at the Advertiser, and it would be great to see as many individuals, clubs and teams get involved as possible.
“The messages of support I have received from everyone has once again been overwhelming.
“Offering to donate your bone marrow to help someone in need would be the best practical way to help and the biggest gift you could give.
“A lot of people are put off going on the donors list because they think donating is a painful experience — that is a myth and in the vast majority of cases it’s as easy and painless as giving blood.”
Warwick was first diagnosed with blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia in April last year.
He had four rounds of chemotherapy, and was in remission by the time he left Nottingham City Hospital five months later.
However, a routine blood test last month revealed leukaemia cells were once again in his blood.
A bone marrow biopsy confirmed the cancer had returned and Warwick immediately started treatment.
“The phone call to tell me they had found these cells in my blood was completely devastating because I knew how hard I had worked to beat this illness the first time around,” he said.
“Everything in life was falling into place perfectly, and then in a matter of moments everything had stopped.
“I pride myself on being one of life’s positive people, and even though I know this treatment will be more gruelling and longer than the last, there isn’t a single part of me that isn’t determined to get through this.”
Warwick is already looking at life beyond cancer and is hoping to one day compete in the likes of tennis and badminton at the British Transplant Games.
Alex Cupit, online recruit-ment lead at Anthony Nolan, said: “Warwick is bravely sharing his story to raise awareness and support the 2,000 people each year who, like him, need a stem cell transplant.
“I would encourage anyone who is aged 16 to 30, and in good health, to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register.
Joining the register involves filling out a form and swabbing your cheeks.
If you are a match for someone, 90% of stem cell donations take place via the bloodstream in a straightforward process.
“We particularly need more young men to join the register. They account for more than half of all donations but make up just 16% of the register,” said Alex.
To find out how to join the Anthony Nolan register and about other ways you can support the charity, visit anthonynolan.org/join
Other organisations who can help you become a donor are the British Bone Marrow Registry and DKMS, which caters for people from wider age groups to join the register.