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Could you be a lifesaving stem cell donor?

3 March 2016

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In late September, Vithiya Alphons had just started back at the University studying Optometry, after a busy summer volunteering in Japan and Moldova. 

However, just days into her final year, the third year Optometry student was given the shattering news that she had an aggressive form of leukaemia. Vithiya is in need of a stem cell donor match within the next two months. 

There are many people across the UK waiting to find a lifesaving donor match. You can be added to the register with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, by filling out a form at They will then send out a ‘Spit Kit’ for you to return, you just have to be 16-30 and in good health to become a lifesaver. Whenever a UK patient with blood cancer or a blood disorder needs a lifesaving stem cell transplant, Anthony Nolan will search the worldwide registers, looking for someone who’s a genetic match for that patient.

Professor Jonathan T. Erichsen, Vithiya’s Personal Tutor, said: “Vithiya is a delightful and popular young woman who has a bright future ahead of her in her chosen career as an Optometrist.

“All of us wish Vithiya a speedy recovery and look forward to having her back with us here in the School."

Vithiya - stem cell donations

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: “Vithiya is a bright and inspirational young woman and somewhere out there, there’s a potential lifesaver who could give her a lifeline by donating their stem cells. 

“We are so grateful to Vithiya for raising awareness of the need for more Asian and ethnic minority donors, and for busting the myth that donating stem cells is painful.

“Joining the Anthony Nolan register just involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample. If you’re one of the privileged few who goes onto donate, 90% of the time this will now take place via an outpatient appointment which is similar to donating blood.”

Anthony Nolan and NHS Blood and Transplant are working closely together to recruit more black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) donors to the aligned Registries.

If you’re age 16-30, you can join the Anthony Nolan register at    

If you're age 17-55 you can join the Delete Blood Cancer register at

Alternatively, to be tested to see if you are a match you can organise an appointment through Welsh Blood, there are sessions coming up in the next few weeks across various locations in Cardiff where you can attend for a blood test. 

Read more at Anthony Nolan

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