Over 5oo people have signed up to become stem cell donors since a concerted campaign was launched in memory of a Co Armagh school teacher.
Gavin McNaney, a former teacher at St Catherine’s College, passed away in November 2017, aged just 37.
His friend, Karl McQuaid, wanted to do something to raise awareness and launched a three month campaign at the start of April.
And it has been a resounding success so far.
Karl, from Dungannon, is also reminding people of a public event in the Armagh City Hotel later this month when people can come along, get more information and sign up.
Karl – who first met Gavin when pupils of St Patrick’s Grammar in Armagh and who remained good friends until his passing – wants to get as many people as he possibly can to sign up to the blood stem cell register.
He said: “Gavin had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in February of 2017 and passed away November.
“He had mentioned to me how incredible it was that a complete stranger had donated their stem cells and that theirs were a match for his.
“Healthy stem cells are an essential part of a blood cancer patient’s journey to a full recovery.
“Since 1st April, nearly 500 people in Northern Ireland have registered with DKMS or with Anthony Nolan.
“I’ve also been informed by people in Southern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales that they too have registered having seen my campaign on social media.”
Karl is hosting the registration event at Armagh City Hotel on Saturday, May 25, from 9am to 1pm.
“If you’re lucky enough to be a match for someone who needs your stem cells world wide, you will donate yours locally in a pain-free process during which blood is taken from one arm and passed into the other whilst stem cells are collected in a filter during that procedure.
“A donor’s stem cells are completely replenished within two to four weeks.
“The registration process at the hotel with take approximately 10 minutes and I would really appreciate it if people were to take the time to come down to register or by registering online.”
Please come along and join the stem cell donor register or simply find out more about Karl’s campaign.
Details of all events and updates are available on Karl’s ‘Somebody’s Stranger’ page on Facebook.