Northamptonshire Police officers share cancer stories to get more people to join stem cell register

A Northamptonshire police officer with leukaemia hopes to get more people to join the stem cell register by sharing how the painless procedure can be life-saving.

Detective Sergeant Keith Morson held the first of three events with Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets at force headquarters with blood cancer charity, Anthony Nolan, today (Thursday, October 3).

Detective Sergeant Keith Morson

Detective Sergeant Keith Morson

The serious and organised crime team member said: “I was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2018 and wanted to do something positive to help me through treatment and give me a positive focus.

“Anthony Nolan helps people with all types of blood cancer find lifesaving stem cell donors so this charity was perfect for me to support, plus I had been on the stem cell register for many years before my diagnosis.

“Being prepared to be on the register will literally make the difference between life and death.

"Such a simple procedure to extract stem cells through the blood is painless and gives someone else the chance at life.

“Many types of blood cancer can be cured through stem cell donation. However, while the number of people on the register is growing all the time, in order to find matches for all those who need one, requires more people to join the register.”

Keith will be sharing his own personal journey through blood cancer and will be joined by Chief Superintendent Mark Behan and his daughter Caitlin and PC Chris Atkins.

At the age of seven, Caitlin received a pioneering stem cell transplant as part of her treatment for Fanconi’s anaemia in May, 2004.

While Chris also received a stem cell transplant in 2011 after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

A representative from Anthony Nolan will be on hand to speak to the cadets about the charity and provide advice and information on how to join the register as well as the stem cell donation procedure.

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a transplant - to join the register, you must be 16-30 and healthy.

It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Anthony Nolan head of register development Rebecca Pritchard said: “We are delighted Keith has been inspired to encourage people to sign up as donors.

“Every day, five people will start their search for a matching stranger who might save their life. Each person who signs up has the potential to help save someone in desperate need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant.

“We’re also particularly calling on young men aged 16-30 to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register as young men provide 50 per cent of all stem cell donations but make up just 18 per cent of our register.”

Keith will also be holding further awareness sessions for Cadets in Wellingborough, Daventry, Towcester and Kettering.