WHO ARE WE?
What is the Sue Harris Trust?
We are an organisation which advocates ethnic minority representation on the national stem cell donor register. Our campaign focuses on increasing Jewish representation on the register in memory of Sue Harris who unfortunately could not find her Jewish match in time to save her life.
Who was Sue Harris?
Sue Harris began the campaign to find her bone marrow donor in September 1993, knowing that she was more likely to find a matching donor from the Jewish community. At the start of her campaign there were only 48 Jewish people on the register; by the end, she had helped to recruit more than 15,000.
What is Jewish Swab Week?
Every February we dedicate one week to encouraging the UK Jewish community to become life savers. We go into Jewish schools, JSocs and charities to reach as many young, healthy eligible Jews as possible.
Why do we need Jewish donors?
Someone in need of a transplant is most likely to find a match in a person with a similar genetic history, often meaning someone from the same ethnic background.
It is harder to find matching donors for people from minority ethnic backgrounds as they tend to have rarer tissue types. This means we need to recruit even more donors from minority ethnic backgrounds so they are overrepresented on the register.
How does the register work?
Each time someone needs a donor, the national registry will be checked to find a match. If you sign up with either of our partner registers; Anthony Nolan or DKMS, you will be a potential match on the national register. Every time someone needs a transplant, we’ll compare their tissue type to yours – and to people on our register and registers across the world.
Why do we need stem cell donors?
A stem cell transplant from a healthy person can replace and repair damaged cells and hopefully cure someone with blood cancer or blood disorder. In short, it can save their life.
Does everyone find a match?
Even with over half a million people on the register, unfortunately not everyone is able to find their match. We urgently need to increase the size and diversity of the register, so that everyone who needs a lifesaving transplant can have one.
How can I help save lives?
Aged between 16-55? In good health? Sign up for a swab kit to join the register and be a potential lifesaver. Link in bio!
Why do you swab?
We collect the donor’s tissue type from spit samples. A simple cheek swab is all it takes for you to join the register!
Will I definitely donate?
The majority of people on our register never donate. Once you are on the register you have a 1 in 800 chance of being asked to donate in the next five years, depending on your age, sex and tissue type.
How will I donate my stem cells?
You can donate your stem cells in two ways – through peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection or bone marrow donation. Around 90% of people donate via PBSC collection. However, in some situations and for some conditions, a patient will need stem cells from bone marrow. If you join the register, you must be willing to donate in either way.
What does donation involve?
Donating only takes 4-5 hours for most people. You’ll come to a collection centre (in London, Oxford, Sheffield or Manchester), where a doctor will insert a tiny tube in your arm, draw out your blood, and pass it through a machine to collect the stem cells. At the end, a nurse will check how many stem cells you’ve donated. You won’t need a general anaesthetic or to stay in hospital overnight.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects can include flu-like symptoms and aching. But they’re usually mild and last just a couple of days. You’ll receive lots of information and support for how to deal with them.
What does a bone marrow transplant involve?
If you need to give cells from your bone marrow (found inside your large bones), doctors will give you a general anaesthetic and draw the cells from your pelvis using a sterile needle and syringe. You will need to stay in hospital for two nights if you donate bone marrow.
Does bone marrow donation have any side effects?
You’ll probably feel tired and have a little bruising after, but this generally passes within a week or so. You’ll receive lots of information and support for how to deal with them.