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New bone marrow boss looks for donors

PUBLISHED: 15:29 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 07 September 2010

Tan Parsons THE new boss of a bone marrow charity in Hampstead has vowed to encourage more people to join their register. Henny Braund took over as chief executive of the Anthony Nolan Trust little over a month ago, and she says that one of their biggest

Tan Parsons

THE new boss of a bone marrow charity in Hampstead has vowed to encourage more people to join their register.

Henny Braund took over as chief executive of the Anthony Nolan Trust little over a month ago, and she says that one of their biggest problems is people's fear of donating bone marrow.

"The biggest obstacle is fear and misunderstanding," she said. "People don't understand how you donate.

"They often seem to think it's some kind of horrible corkscrew that goes into your spine, but it's really not.

"It's actually as simple as giving blood. You sit on the machine for three or four hours and people who have given donations say it's uncomfortable at the time but at the end of it they go straight back to work. We just want to encourage people to find out exactly what's involved."

The trust is the UK's largest and most successful bone marrow register, and although it has 390,000 people signed up currently there are still 16,000 people worldwide who need a donor.

The charity has been based at the heart of Hampstead in Agincourt Road for more than 20 years, but the number of people from the Ham&High area who have joined the register - 1,800 - is still relatively small. In 10 years only 12 have been a match for patients in need of bone marrow.

Ms Braund said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to support a charity that has its roots in the area - even though we have a world renowned reputation for our research. There's a chance you could prove to be the only match for a patient and end up saving their life, which is a fantastic thing to do."

There are also other ways to support the charity, such as making donations or by volunteering to run events and clinics.

One of Ms Braund's main aims is to boost the donor register - both in terms of the number and the diversity of the people who register.

"We are particularly keen to encourage people from minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up, and we also need more men," she said.

To join the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register you need to be aged between 18 and 40, and you can remain available to donate until your 60th birthday.

To find out more, call 020-7284 1234 or visit www.anthonynolan. org.uk.


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