I am delighted to say that the Strength to Give national cheek swab recruitment campaign has gone live this week.
Patients with blood cancers need us to act fast. Every 31 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with blood cancer and almost 6,000 Australians lose their lives to blood cancers every year. But I am pleased to report that as of Monday 27 March, Australians aged 18-35 can jump onto the Strength to Give website, click the Register button and receive a free home-delivered cheek swab kit. Donors no longer need to be blood donors making a blood donation – but they can still register on the website and complete their enrolment by giving a blood sample when they next donate blood.
So far $500,000 in funding for swab recruitment has been announced – and the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) will use its independent reserves towards supporting swab recruitment for the next several months.
There is still a long way to go to create a sustainable commitment to improve the registry and make a significant difference to Australian patients. I again call on the Minister for Health, Mark Butler, to authorise release of ABMDR’s remaining funds as soon as possible, so the registry can attract as many donors as it can swab - and save even more lives.
Please register if you can!