Huge response to marrow drive
Hundreds of Oxford students flocked to a bone marrow clinic in Brasenose last Thursday to register as potential donors for graduate student and leukemia sufferer Matt Carver. After being diagnosed with Leukemia in January, 22 year-old Carver has desperately needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. The clinic, sponsored by the Anthony Nolan Trust, was organised to search for potential donors amongst fellow Oxford students. Such clinics usually attract a maximum of 35 people, but Brasenose was inundated with around 250 students volunteering themselves. Even with ten people staffing the clinic there were long queues, and it had to stay open an extra hour and a half to deal with the response. Over 120 ‘usable’ samples were collected on the spot, and further postal registrations will mean the number will rise further. Charis Demetriou, a fellow Brasenose student who helped organise the event, said, “Great things happen in Oxford – it was awesome to see that people do care. “Because of the strict criteria of the health conditions of potential donors many of them were not able to register, also students who don’t know if they will be resident in the UK for the next three years. But that doesn’t matter – what matters is that they turned up and offered.” He added, “Many of the people that turned up were friends of Matt Carver, and others just happened to hear of the clinic. It was fantastic to hear people saying things like ‘I always wanted to do this but didn’t know how’ or ‘I just saw it on Facebook and thought I’d come along.’ “It was both refreshing and re-assuring to see Oxford students rallying behind a friend in need and making such big commitments in order to help a fellow student and others like him.” According to Demetriou, Carver was “shocked and obviously very happy to see the support both from the college community and from people he never met in his life. “It gave him such a huge boost to know that the student community is behind him.” The clinic’s confidentiality rules mean that it is unknown whether any of the people who signed up were matches for Matt Carver, or for anyone else on the waiting list. A spokesperson for the Anthony Nolan Trust emphasised that any students who are interested in becoming potential donors can still do so. Details are on their website. There are currently over 7000 patients in the UK waiting to find a suitable donor.