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Rugby teams donate stem cells

Words by Abi Scaife

A rugby team in Australia is on a very important mission - to donate their stem cells.

The Melbourne Rebels are the first professional team to sign up on mass to become Australian bone marrow donors with Tackling Leukaemia Inc.

Tell me more.

Tackling Leukaemia is a grassroots charity in Australia aiming to increase the survival rates of Pasifika and Indigenous populations that have been diagnosed with leukaemia. Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that can be terminal - the main treatment is a stem cell transplant.

The best chance of a match comes when from a biological relation - such as a sibling. If they are not a match or cannot help, then the only option is to turn to a bank of donors - who are mostly white Europeans.

What’s the problem with that?

After a full sibling, your best luck is for a patient and donor to have a similar ancestral history - something that is unlikely to be shared between people of two different ethnic backgrounds. 

Australia has one of the lowest rates of bone marrow donation in the world, and it’s even harder for people of Pasifika and Indigenous backgrounds. 

That’s why Tackling Leukaemia has ‘teamed up’ with rugby teams in Australia to encourage more people, particularly those with Pasifika and Indigenous backgrounds, to sign up.

The initiative has been a huge success so far, and will hopefully save the lives of so many more people.

Fancy doing something good? Consider signing up today.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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