Family in crusade to double donors
Apr 21 2007 By Daniel Thomson, The Journal
Josie Grove's inspirational legacy continued to live on yesterday as her family donated £10,000 to sign up hundreds of people to the bone marrow register.
Cliff and Jacqui Grove, of Princes Street, Corbridge, Northumberland, are bidding to double the number of donors in the UK in memory of their daughter - but they need your help.
Their donation to the Anthony Nolan Trust will be used to cover the cost of adding more than 140 people to the register at three clinics taking place in Newcastle, Corbridge and Hexham over the next few weeks.
The first will be held at Newcastle's Theatre Royal on May 19 and will be supported by The Journal's Join Up for Josie campaign, which has seen more than 70 people sign up since it launched following the teenager's death in February.
The vibrant 16-year-old decided to end her cancer treatment to better enjoy her last months with her family, but little did she know her courageous decision would capture the hearts of the nation.
She died following a two-year battle with leukaemia, but not before raising tens of thousands for other young people suffering from the disease.
Last night, her parents Cliff, 46, and Jacqui, 44, who have vowed to continue her legacy, urged as many people as possible to sign up to the bone marrow register at one of the Anthony Nolan Trust clinics being held in the region.
Cliff said: "There are about 60 million people living in the UK, but only 380,000 on the bone marrow register. I'd love to double that figure over the next couple of years. It would be an amazing achievement, but we cannot do it alone.
"We are donating £10,000 to the Anthony Nolan Trust to pay for about 143 people to sign up to the register. Now it's the turn of the public to come forward and become donors.
"Ideally, the trust needs young men aged between 18 and 40, especially ethnic males as there is a real shortage of donors, but everyone is welcome.
"This is a chance for people to save someone's life. It's as simple as that. Every person on the bone marrow register could save someone's life. It's pretty amazing really and an awesome thing to have done in your lifetime."
Cliff, who has also been raising money for charity through the sale of a dragonfly pendant designed by Josie and her mum, added: "Bone marrow transplants are the main route toward finding a cure for leukaemia and the more people who sign up for the register the greater the chance of finding a perfect match.
"There are several different types of leukaemia and Josie had one of the hardest to budge.
"She had two bone marrow transplants, but unfortunately did not have a perfect match. They still go ahead with non-perfect matches, but if it had been perfect it would have increased her chances. This is why it is so important for more people to get on the register.
"Our donation will be used to add people to the register from the North-East who attend one of three clinics being held over the next few months without the usual cost to the Anthony Nolan Trust."
Come along and help save a life
The Journal is urging readers to join the bone marrow register and become a potential lifesaver for a youngster like Josie Grove.
You only need to give a teaspoon of blood to join the register.
If you become a match for one of the 7,000 people who need a transplant, the procedure is as simple as giving blood.
Donors' identities are kept anonymous, but please remember to mention The Journal's Josie Grove Appeal when asked how you found out about the number so we can record how many people are signing up in her name.
Donors must be 18-40 and weigh more than 8st/51kg.
A special email address has been set up on the Anthony Nolan Trust's bone marrow register in Josie's memory - firstname.lastname@example.org
The donor hotline is 0901 882-2234.
How to get involved
Simply turn up to Newcastle's Theatre Royal, on Grey Street, between 10am and noon on May 19 if you want to add your name to the register.
A small blood sample will be taken and the first 143 volunteers will be covered by the £10,000 cash boost from the Josie fund.
Anthony Nolan Trust donor recruitment manager Nigel Gorvett [correct] said: "This generous donation will give people the opportunity to come along to one of our clinics and help play a part in saving lives.
"People do not have to pay to sign up to the register anyway, but the £10,000 will cover the cost of recruiting about 143 donors. It costs the charity £70 to recruit each one.
"We would like to encourage as many as possible to come along to the clinics, which we will be running in Newcastle, Hexham and Corbridge in May and June.
"Only people aged between 18 and 40 can join the register, but people of all ages are welcome to help out in other ways."