Anthony Nolan

Date: 14 Sep 2018

Rugby fans in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to sign up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register at the Ricoh Arena, to help save the life of a six-year-old boy who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.

In July 2018, Marley Nicholls, from Newport, was diagnosed with a rare blood condition called aplastic anaemia and is in a race against time to find a matching donor.

Representatives from blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan - which matches donors willing to donate their stem cells to people in desperate need of a transplant - will be in the Wasps Nest Fan Village before Wasps’ clash with Leicester Tigers on Sunday between 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

The Anthony Nolan team will be joined by some of Marley’s friends who are looking to sign up adults aged 16 to 30 to the stem cell register, which is a five minute process that involves taking swabs from the mouth and filling out a form.

Sarah Cleveley is the Regional Register Development Manager for the East and Midlands at Anthony Nolan, and is responsible for signing up people to the register, which currently stands at around 700,000 across the UK.

“It is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and on Sunday we’re asking people to spare just five minutes of their time which could potentially save somebody’s life,” Sarah said.

“We are targeting 16 to 30-year-olds because the younger the donor, the higher the chance that the transplant will be successful.

“We’re also appealing for more male donors to come forward to boost the number of males successfully matching on the register. Young men make up only 16 per cent of our register but provide more than half of all donations.

“Marley’s story has really struck a chord with the nation, and the more names we get on the stem cell register, the likelier it is that we can help Marley and others in a similar situation to him.

“We had a team at Old Coventrians RFC and Broadstreet RFC last weekend where we managed to sign up over 120 people to the register, and we’re hoping to add significantly more at the Ricoh Arena this weekend.”

Verity Brown, Events and Match day Marketing Manager at Wasps, invited Anthony Nolan to Sunday’s game.

She added: “We heard of Marley’s story through social media and wanted to do our bit in helping him to find a match”.

“Wasps versus Leicester Tigers is one of the biggest games of the season at the Ricoh Arena, and will provide the perfect platform for them to talk to a large audience and boost the numbers on the stem cell register.”

Tickets for Wasps vs Leicester Tigers are available from starting from £15 for adults, while under-10s go free in certain areas.