Students ‘playing their part’ in saving lives with stem cell donor drive

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Students ‘playing their part’ in saving lives with stem cell donor drive

Sue Harris Trust-organised 'Hero Week' took place across university campuses, with members of so-called 'swab squads' donating cells last month

Organisers of a stem cell donor drive on campus this week said Jewish students were “playing their part” to save lives even during lockdown.

Ambassadors of the Sue Harris Trust, which is organising ‘Hero Week’ across universities, said they were “busy recruiting Jewish students to our Swab Squad”.

Former Yavneh College student Shaina Lesser, one of the Swab Squad recruits, donated her stem cells last month, which the Trust described as “fantastic news”.

Lesser, 18, said: “I was very surprised when I found out I’d matched with someone, but felt incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to provide someone with hope.”

The Trust has sought to raise awareness that more than 1,000 Jewish people with blood cancer around the world are in need of a donor from outside their family.

“Jewish donors are sought because tissue type – the key factor in matching an appropriate unrelated stem cell donor – is influenced by ethnic origin,” said organisers. “There is also a medical preference for donors aged 16-24.”

Shaina Lesser

Young Jews who wish to register should visit the Trust’s website where they can complete a medical questionnaire and arrange a cheek swab.

Trust secretary Lionel Salama said: “Lockdown is obviously stressful for students. Hero Week though offers them the chance to do something really positive by joining the national register of lifesavers.”


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