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Football vs Blood Cancer

26 January 2017

Reading FC have teamed up with Blood Cancer Charity DKMS in a bid to register fans as potential lifesavers

Reading FC have teamed up with blood cancer charity DKMS in a bid to register fans as potential lifesavers. On 28 January 2017, a matchday donor registration event will be held at Reading FC’s Fan Zone when we face Cardiff City in the Sky Bet Championship. It will give supporters attending the home game the opportunity to register as a blood stem cell donor and potentially save the life of someone with a blood cancer.

Reading FC’s Head of Marketing, Dara Thomas, said: “We are delighted to be supporting DKMS. Not only is this a cause that can make such an amazing difference to those suffering from the illness, it is also close to our hearts at Reading FC. Young Felix Brown, a friend of the club, and first team player Yann Kermorgant have both had their own experiences of the illness. Supporters can become potential life savers by taking the time before the game to swab and register with the charity at our next home match on January 28. It could really help to make a difference.”

The Royals have also got their own staff involved with supporting the cause. A staff donor registration event was held in one of the executive boxes at Madejski Stadium on January 18 enabling staff to register as potential lifesavers and representatives from Compass Group and the Millennium Madejski Hotel also joined in.

The event was supported by first team player Yann Kermorgant who suffered from Leukaemia when he was 14 years old. 

Talking about the importance of registering as a potential blood stem cell donor, Yann said: “I had to undergo treatment and was fortunate that it worked and I am able to play football again following my illness as a teenager. Many people are not so fortunate and find themselves needing a blood stem cell transplant when their treatment doesn’t work. Football has a huge and passionate fan base and inspires those in the sporting community. Supporters can give those suffering with a blood cancer a second chance at life. Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor only takes a few minutes but it is so important for those seeking a matching donor.”

Reason for campaign
A blood stem cell donation is the only chance of survival for many blood cancer patients. Sadly, many patients will not find a matching donor. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors. That is why DKMS works to increase the size and diversity of the blood stem cell registry.

DKMS has launched Football Vs Blood Cancer because younger people, especially men, have a better chance of being chosen to donate, and the charity believes that the football community is one of the best places it can find potential lifesavers. The diversity of the football community is important too because patients who are from an Asian, black or ethnic minority background often have greater difficulty finding a matching donor.

Donor Registration
Anyone in the UK aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health can register with DKMS. To register, the charity asks potential blood stem cell donors to give consent and a two minute swab sample from the inside of their cheek. This is done at one of their donor recruitment events or via requesting a kit from their website.

The swab is analysed to establish tissue characteristics, with information added anonymously to the UK Stem Cell Registry. If the tissue type is matched to a patient now or in the future, around 90% of blood stem cell donations in the UK are collected via the blood stream. Around 10% of blood stem cell donations in the UK are made via a donation of bone marrow collected from the back of the pelvic bone.

It costs DKMS £40 to register a new potential blood stem cell donor. As a charity, DKMS relies on contributions from the public to help cover these costs. Anyone wishing to help DKMS reach and register more potential life savers can donate at

You can find out more about the Football Vs Blood Cancer campaign and DKMS by clicking here.   

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