Three Rivers Council approves blood Cancer motion

Updated: 19 December 2018

Councillor Reena Ranger asked the Council to agree her motion at the full Council meeting on 11 December 2018

Councillor Reena Ranger asked the Council to agree her motion at the full Council meeting on 11 December 2018. Her motion was to encourage large event organisers, who use council property or use Council funding, to offer a free stall or space to organisations that register people to the stem cell donor list.

Cllr Ranger said: “There are festivals, park runs and so many other events that attract a large number of people from a diverse set of backgrounds. It seems logical that when we have these groups of people in one place, we provide that opportunity for selfless strangers to give someone a second chance in life.”

She shared six year old Kaiya’s story from Three Rivers, she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Leukaemia. Her immediate family were not a match but finally, a match was found six months later after over 100 donor drives.

Only one in three people with blood cancer find a matching donor within their family. The shortage of registered minority ethnic donors means that they have about a 20% chance of finding a matching donor, compared to 69% for Brits and northern Europeans. This is due in part to the low numbers of donors registered from those backgrounds, and because minority ethnic patients tend to have more varied tissue. Mixed race or biracial people are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the UK and are predicted to be the largest minority group by 2020.

Cllr Ranger said: “Kaiya has inspired me and many other people. She has reaffirmed the change I am going to make which is making a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Leader of the Council, Sara Bedford added: “Since it is a worldwide register, someone in another country could benefit. From this chamber in Three Rivers, we could make a positive impact upon people around the world. Thanks to all those who are already on the register, but we do need more to sign up and possibly save lives.”

Leader of the Conservative Group, Alex Hayward said: “If someone’s heritage precluded them from something, or led to some inequality, many people would stand and fight for change. This initiative will help the wider population and minorities.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Stephen Cox added: “We need to make people aware of their lifesaving ability and help them to sign up to the register with ease with an actual part of themselves. A simple cheek swab could be the key to saving someone’s life.”

Cllr Ranger’s motion was agreed, delighted, she said: “Thanks to all the group leaders. I would like to live in a world where the register is populated. Please can everyone do whatever you can to encourage other councils, organisations, anyone who will listen to do something similar? If we do, and if they do, the register would self-populate with different demographics from different areas.”