If you could save a life by spitting into a tube, would you do it?
Chances are, the answer is yes. After all, what could be easier?
If you’re between 16 and 30, this simple step for Anthony Nolan, the UK blood cancer charity, could mean the difference between life and death to someone suffering from blood cancer.
Island resident Guy Wolstencroft decided instead to go down the rather more challenging route of encouraging others to become stem cell donors – by undertaking an Ironman competition.
On Sunday, Guy will compete in Ironman Austria, which comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and a 26.2-mile running marathon.
Guy was inspired by the work of Anthony Nolan to take up the challenge and launch his own campaign, ‘Become a Bone Idol’.
Every time someone joins the Anthony Nolan register for blood stem cell and bone marrow donations, it boosts the charity’s database of tissue samples, increasing the possibility of finding the right match for someone in vital need of a transplant.
Through ‘Bone Idol’, Guy asked for 140 people to become donors – one person for every mile of the Ironman challenge.
Guy said: ‘Rather than just handing over money, I wanted to get people physically involved and promote the life-changing possibilities of becoming a stem cell donor.
‘Donating is simple and it’s urgent. Someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every 20 minutes. So be the cure – if you’re between 16 and 30, you have a unique opportunity to save a life.
‘If you’re a potential tissue match, you’ll be asked to give blood samples and then, providing everything is OK, go for blood stem cell collection. Neither process is difficult or painful, in fact, it’s pretty simple.’
It’s not the first time that Guy, director of Isle of Man Hearing Solutions, has tested his mettle for a good cause. In 2010, he took part in the Mont Blanc marathon for a campaign he dubbed ‘Fancy Sharing A Pint?’, asking people to donate a pint of blood instead of a money donation. Three years later and the campaign has held its momentum – over 7,000 people have now ‘shared their pint’.
Now, on the eve of Ironman Austria, Guy is happy to report that the target for his campaign has been not only reached but smashed, with over 450 people signing up. But that shouldn’t deter anyone who wants to ‘Become a Bone Idol’ – the more donors, the better.
Guy added: ‘I have been overwhelmed with the response and knowing that so many people have pledged their support is simply fantastic.
‘In Klagenfurt on Sunday, I will provide the sweat and tears knowing that others have provided the blood – this will be all the inspiration that I need to cross the finishing line.’
Find out more on Facebook/Bone Idol
Visit www.anthonynolan.org for full details of joining the donor register.