Following a talk given by a representative of the Anthony Nolan Trust who had visited Bradford Grammar School, BGS pupil Richard Lansbury, age 17, from Baildon, decided he wanted to join the donor register by simply supplying a saliva sample.
Every day, the charity match incredible individuals willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people with blood cancer and blood disorders who desperately need lifesaving transplants.
It all began in 1974 when Shirley Nolan’s three-year-old son Anthony was in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant, and so she set up the world’s first register to match donors with people in desperate need.
Now, the charity helps three people each day find that lifesaving match. Richard’s parents Alison and Alastair said: “We were delighted that Richard had taken this mature approach and supported him in his decision to put himself onto the donor register.
In the spring, Richard was contacted by the Anthony Nolan Trust and they let him know that he was a match for a patient and asked whether he could supply more blood samples for further matching. They sent us a kit containing blood sample bottles and a form, all of which was to be completed by the medical professional.”
The family sent the kit back and it was confirmed that Richard was a match for a patient who would probably need a stem cell transplant in the near future. In early September, they contacted Richard to ask him to donate as the patient now required the transplant.
If he decided to take this up he would need to commit to providing the stem cells, as once the patient is treated in order to prepare them to receive the transplant, if no cells are donated they would suffer and could potentially die.
Richard said: “I had no hesitation in agreeing to donate. We discussed this as a family and I knew I could decline if that’s what I wanted, and that would be ok. But I was 100% sure I wanted to donate. My family and the Anthony Nolan Trust supported me throughout the process and the Trust team were fantastic at keeping us all informed.”
Richard visited Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital and successfully donated stem cells. The process took approximately four hours.
Alison continues: “It’s difficult to describe just how much respect I have for Richard, he was unwavering in his commitment to donate and didn’t think for a minute about the impact on himself. He embraced the process and it seemed he could always see the bigger picture.
Through all of the injections and donation process Richard remained stoic and enthusiastic about the opportunity to really make a difference for someone, for whom he could be the only chance of a cure.
To say we are all proud of him for such a selfless and wonderful act would be an understatement. He has proven himself to be someone who is courageous, generous, selfless and mature beyond his years.”
“I was 100% sure I wanted to donate. My family and the Anthony Nolan Trust supported me throughout the process and the Trust team were fantastic at keeping us all informed.”