Can Social Media Help Spread Awareness about Bone Marrow Transplants

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bone marrow transplantsBone Marrow Transplants are not exactly my usual blog subject – its not really about anything technical or a mobile app or even a social media platform, although I have blogged about cancer before as it is a big part of my life and as a big supporter for the teenage cancer trust  I believe social media can help raise awareness and support.

This time a friend who is trying to raise awareness and to spread the news about the Fireflies tour and Bone Marrow Transplants and asked me if I can help out.

My friend John started this Facebook Page, which if you can *like*  to show your support, that would be fantastic – Help Someone be Lucky   the page explains why I want to and need to help out.

The reason for this FB page is that John is planning to cycle 1000+ Km across the Alps  From Lake Geneva to Cannes in aid of #BeatBloodCANCER in the June 9-18 2014

Why is he doing this crazy thing?
John is doing this because he had a blood cancer, leukaemia, and had a Bone Marrow Transplant 5 years ago.

The best chance of a cure from leukaemia is a bone marrow transplant.

Now, I admit I didn’t know much about this subject, blood cancer is a little different and I thought that you probably don’t know much either – so here’s what I found out.

The facts

Your blood is the most amazing system in your body. Every second MILLIONS of blood cells are being made by your body inside your bones and every second MILLIONS of worn out cells exit themselves naturally after only a matter of days or weeks traveling round doing all kinds of essential work inside you, keeping you alive and protecting you from getting sick – it’s a vital part of our immune system.

There are several different types of blood cell. Too many or too few of any of them will cause a problem. The body has a system constantly ensuring you make just the right amount of the blood cells of the right type at just the right time. This goes on, day in day out every day without you being aware of any of it. Blood cancer is what happens when the programming of the blood production system inside your bones gets damaged and begins to go wrong.

Modern medicines are able to control blood cancers for many affected people. But in some cases the medicines aren’t effective.Blood cancer can be life threatening  – people affected by blood cancer could die from infections that are not normally life threatening or if the cancer can’t be controlled by medicine. Blood Cancer can be life threatening  – it affects the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic systems and the immune system is affected this means that they could die from infections, that are not normally life threatening

30.000 people in the UK are told they have Blood Cancer per year, this can start at any age!

The most common types of blood cancers are

  • Leukaemia
  • Childhood Leukaemia
  • Lymphoma

People with leukaemia produce abnormal while blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow, which prevents other important blood cells growing.

Bone Marrow is found in the hollow centres of some bones. Its a spongy tissue that contains these stem cells.

Bone marrow transplants

Bone Marrow Transplants

For people with blood cancer that medicines can’t control, Bone Marrow Transplants are required to replace completely the production system inside the bones completely – with a donor’s cancer-free system – so that normal blood cells can be made again.

For a person to receive someone else’s blood production cells, called stem cells, he or she must be so closely matched at a cellular level to the donor that their body is tricked into accepting the donor’s blood stem cells and allows them to replace their damaged, cancer-carrying cells. When a donor is needed, they are often needed quickly. Waiting for someone who matches to turn up is not the best option.

John was lucky – he received bone marrow cells from a complete stranger – who was 1 volunteer donor out of 11 million in the world who happened to perfectly match.

Half of the people waiting for a donor in the UK today will find a person who matches them. The person that saves the life of someone you know who develops blood cancer is most likely to be someone who has been on the volunteer register for some time, they could even be in another country. It’s a pure numbers game, like cracking a code – the problem is it’s so difficult to find a match. But, the more people volunteer to be donors, the more the chances of survival for everyone with blood cancer improve.

Volunteers needed.

So, we need more volunteers and that is the crux of it.  I say we, because who knows if any of us or someone we know is going to be affected and need a donor.  There are 3000 people already waiting for donors in the UK.

Taken from Johns soluckyjohn website, he says

    Bone marrow cells are normally harvested after an injection that makes the donor’s body temporarily produce more blood stem cells than normal so they float around in the blood. These cells can be filtered out of the blood NOT BY A NEEDLE IN THE BONE

They are really interested in finding young men, they are the most lacking here.

There is a fund raising page with more information, with a target of just £5000 can we help that go over the top?

There has been and is some heavy cycling training going on as you would expect, I can’t even begin to understand how long it takes to get ready for something like that, they are amazing.

So now you know a little bit about Bone Marrow Transplants, can you help spread the word, like the FB, donate – or just share this blog post -every little helps, you don’t have to go cycling 1000+ miles, we’ll leave that up to the amazing guys that are part of the fireflies tour.

Please do help if you can.