Not so long ago I joined the Anthony Nolan register on a whim. Anthony Nolan, for those not in the know, is an organisation helping people with blood cancer. One day I was sitting at the computer pretending to be doing something productive. In actual fact I was scouring Twitter for lols. Someone had tweeted something about joining the Anthony Nolan register and I figured that it sounded like a noble way to procrastinate further, so I clicked that link.
If you are between the ages of 16-30 and in good health you can join the Anthony Nolan register. This means donating a bit of DNA and letting them add to you a big list where they can screen you as a potential genetic match for people who need a stem cell transplant. I did this. Here’s why:
1– If I had blood cancer, or someone I loved had blood cancer I would want them to have easy access to the treatment they need to beat that demon and send it packing. Hell, I want that for people I vaguely know in passing and people I don’t know at all. Because cancer is fucking terrible. Trust me, this year I learnt without any doubt that cancer is terrible and it sucks to watch it tear families apart and sit by feeling helpless.
So, I figure if I expect a stranger to help hypothetical me to cure my theoretical blood cancer then I need to put my name on the list to potentially help a stranger with theirs. Fair’s fair. I pretty much feel that it’s a moral obligation at this point. If you would accept help you need to give help where you can.
2– Ever had that feeling that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, that terrible things are happening all around and you can’t do anything about it? I had that. I have no money. I spent it all on rent and food. Everything left over from that gets spent on tax and electricity. Some gets squirreled away for wine, I’ll admit. But I can’t give freely to charity and then worry if I’ll have enough for the bus ride home.
I don’t have time to donate to good causes either. I work a lot. I try and get 8 hours sleep a night or it cuts down on my ability to work a lot. I’m stressed enough about time management already without adding more to my to do list. Saving the world just doesn’t fit into my schedule.
However, it’s free to add yourself to the Anthony Nolan register and if you do you could potentially SAVE A LIFE. You could be a life saver in spite of being poor and busy. How’s about that?!
3 – It doesn’t take up any of your time to register. I registered online here. They sent a spit kit to my house. It arrived one Saturday morning, my husband picked up the post from the door and passed it to me. I was sitting on the couch in full Saturday morning chic: hair in messy bun, make up smeared from the night before, no trousers.
I opened the kit, followed the easy directions and spat into a plastic thing. Once I had sealed everything up and put it back in the envelope provided all I needed to do was pop it back in the post. I had the husband do that as well because he always has a lot of post. See how easy that was? I didn’t even need to leave the couch or put on clothes. If you want to donate blood you have to do both of those things. Now, I’m not saying don’t donate blood. You definitely should. It’s just that this is waaaaaay easier.
4 – You can do this up until the age of 30. I am 30. This was my last chance to feel young. If you’re over 30 you can check out these other options, and while you do that I’ll be over here frolicking, using slang that old people find incomprehensible and wearing eyeliner in wacky ways BECAUSE I’M YOUNG DAMMIT.
5 – I may help save a life. That’s one thing. Alternatively, I may never match with anyone and my spit sample will just sit in storage. They say it will remain there until I’m 60, but what if they forget to turf it out? What if there’s an international incident when I’m 59 and my spit sample sits locked in an underground bunker, blocked off from society while nuclear war rages above? Years later a team of mole people may burrow into the bunker and discover my DNA sealed away in a corner and in a fit of whimsy decide to use it to recreate the human species and keep them as pets.
I’d bloody love to be a pet. Have you seen how great cats’ lives are? They sleep, they get fed, they are adored and they can run wild in the streets meowing and hissing at the neighbours if they want. I am totally willing to entertain mole people by chasing string, sitting on keyboards and swatting their noses while they sleep. In future times someone with my genetic makeup may get to live life as a CAT, may get to live THE DREAM and it’s all because I joined the Anthony Nolan register.
All totally reasonable reasons, there. You should join if you’re able. Then we could one day be cats together and sit out on the fence all night singing the song of our people. Which is probably Total Eclipse of the Heart, let’s face it.