The family and friends of a grandfather from Todmorden are campaigning to recruit more potential donors to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register, after being told that he needs a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Chris Barker, 59, who works for Baker Tilly, was diagnosed with MDS in May 2011, which has since caused him to develop acute myeloid leukaemia.
Father-of-three Chris has since been told that he needs a bone marrow transplant. Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients like Chris, for whom a transplant may be their best hope of a cure.
The family launched the Spit4Dad campaign on social media, urging people to join the Anthony Nolan register, simply by filling in an online form and spitting into a tube. Walsden and Todmorden communities are behind Chris’s campaign. Everyone from local schools and cricket clubs, to famous footballers, have stepped in to offer their support.
Walsden Cricket Club have asked all their followers to change their profile picture in support of the Spit4Dad appeal.
Chris’s daughter Cathy, said:“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had in spreading the word about the work of the Anthony Nolan register. Not only could this help our Dad, but it will help others facing the same situation as any of these new donors could be a potentially lifesaving match for someone in desperate need.”
Chris has a rare tissue type and is now waiting to hear whether a matching donor has been found. In the meantime the family are continuing to raise awareness of Anthony Nolan and are holding an event on Saturday, July 26, at Walsden Cricket Club, from 12-5pm, where people aged 16-30 can sign up on the spot.
Chris said: “We never realised until now how important it is that people support Anthony Nolan and join the register – there are thousands of different tissue types out there, but unless you sign up to the register you could be a lifesaving match for someone without even knowing it.”
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: “What many people don’t realise is how easy it is to join the bone marrow register – it simply involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample. We urgently need more young men to sign up as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate but are under-represented on the register.”
People aged 16-30 can join the register online at www.anthonynolan.org, or come to the Spit4Dad recruitment event at Walsden Cricket Club on Saturday, July 26.