A CAMPAIGN which could see every 16-year-old receiving a letter about stem cell donation alongside their National Insurance number is being backed by Burton MP Andrew Griffiths.
The campaign, launched by the charity Anthony Nolan, hopes to convince HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to include the information in letters sent to every teenager just before their 16th birthday.
Recovering leukaemia patient and stem cell recipient Katherine Sinfield, of Balfour Street, signed a petition calling for the scheme to be introduced and her calls have now been backed by the town’s MP.
This comes on the back of the Mail’s Take Five Minutes campaign, launched in the wake of Mrs Sinfield’s diagnosis, which has seen hundreds of people across the town sign up to be an organ blood and bone marrow donor.
Mr Griffiths, who has now written directly to Lin Homer, the Chief Executive of HMRC in support of the proposal, said: “This campaign can help to save countless lives across the country and I’m delighted to support it.
“Simply by encouraging people to sign up to their register when they get their National Insurance card is an easy way to get more people to sign up.”
If successful, this scheme would see 700,000 young people receive these letters every year.
Mrs Sinfield, 34, who is now in remission from the disease, said: “We need to find a way to interact with young people and for many, the discovery of their National Insurance number is the first major milestone which they relish as a sign of coming of age.
“This is a letter teenagers will take notice of and so a leaflet included with their number could drastically help to boost donor numbers.
“Someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer every 20 minutes – and 2,000 people desperately need a lifesaving stem cell transplant every year so something needs to be done about it.”
Anyone aged 16 to 30 can sign up online by visiting www.anthony nolan.org
By Rob Smyth (Burton Mail)