Frequently Asked Questions
If you do not find an answer to your question below, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
What’s the goal of Race Against Blood Cancer?

Race Against Blood Cancer has been set up with the ambition of giving every blood cancer patient an equal chance of finding a donor match. When a person’s bone marrow is defective, it is unable to produce some of the blood cells necessary to maintain good health. A transplant using the cells of a healthy donor could save a blood cancer patient's life.

Learn more about Race Against Blood Cancer - what we do and why we do it.


Why is ethnicity so important when finding a donor match?

The chances of finding a matching donor are considerably higher from people of the same ethnic background. The problem currently is that patients from ethnic minority backgrounds are at a significant disadvantage, due to a lack of donors registering from their respective communities. This means the more diverse your ethnicity, the more difficult it is to find a match, resulting in many patients unfortunately never finding a match.

Learn more about the importance of ethnicity - why we do it


How do I register to become a bone marrow donor?

Registering to become a potential donor is very simple and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes of your time. The process involves filling out a simple questionnaire and providing a saliva swab. The odds are that most people who volunteer to be a donor do not find a match but if you are, you will be asked to donate stem cells or bone marrow.

Learn more about the bone marrow donor process & register to become a donor today.


What’s the difference between a stem cell & bone marrow donation?

Stem cell and bone barrow donation are the two main methods to become a donor. Donating stem cells is a lot like donating blood and is the method used 90% of the time. The bone marrow process is a minor surgical procedure, which is done using general anaesthetic. You don’t get to choose how you’d like to donate as it depends on the need of the patient, however neither method is as scary as you may think.

Learn more about the stem cell & bone marrow donor process in this video guide.


Together we can beat blood cancer, save a life join the donor register today
Can I choose how I donate?

When you join the register you should be aware that you don’t get to choose how you donate, this is selected by the patient’s doctor dependant on what they feel is most appropriate. However, bone marrow donations are a lot less common these days with 90% of donors donating stem cell. This process is like giving blood.

Learn more about the stem cell & bone marrow donor process in this video guide.


What is the register that I will be joining?

Race Against Blood Cancer do not have a register. Our role is to drive registrations on the relevant local bone marrow and stem cell donor registries. In the UK we direct potential donors to Delete Blood Cancer to register. All potential donors in the UK will be entered onto the British Bone Marrow Registry so that a patient in need can search for donors on the national register.

Learn more about the bone marrow donor process & register to become a donor today.


Who can register to be a donor?

To register to be a potential donor you have to be:

  • 17 to 55
  • In good health
  • At least 4”10 and weigh more than 110 pounds
  • Not exceed a BMI of 40
  • Not have a chronic illness or belong to a risk group.

There may be specific eligibility requirements depending on the local organisation you join with, Race Against Blood Cancer connect with the Delete Blood Cancer database who are aligned with the requirements above. Learn more here at Delete Blood Cancer.


What happens if I’m a match?

If you are identified as a match for a patient in need, the register that you are signed on to (if in the UK, the NHS BT) or a partner organisation (e.g. Delete Blood Cancer in the UK) will be in contact with you. You will be asked to visit one of their centres to meet a staff member and receive an explanation of the process. Part of the process will include a medical examination by a doctor, along with a blood test to ensure you are healthy and in a medical state to donate.

Learn more about the process & register to become a donor today.


Will it have a long term effect on me?

No, it will not have a long term effect on you. The bone marrow will regenerate over time and this usually happens in a week or so. If you donate through peripheral blood cell donation (PBSC) you may have symptoms similar to the flu for a few days after.

Why not join the donor register today, alternatively you can donate financially or get involved by volunteering or fundraising and helping us drive donor sign ups.


Will my saliva or blood be used for anything else?

Your saliva will be used only to see if you’re a potential match for a patient seeking a donor. If you are lucky enough to have a match, the stems cells from your blood will be used only for the benefit of that patient’s health. No one else will have access to your information for purposes other than this.

Why not join the donor register today, alternatively you can donate financially or get involved by volunteering or fundraising and helping us drive donor sign ups.


Together we can beat blood cancer, save a life join the donor register today
What happens if I change my mind?

We would never force a donor to donate and nor do we have the power to do so. However, it’s important that you consider what it means to be a donor before you decide to register. It is very difficult for a patient and their families when a donor match is identified and that person pulls out.

You can donate financially or get involved by volunteering or fundraising and helping us drive donor sign ups.


What if I cannot be a donor and still want to help?

If you cannot be a donor but still want to help, there are number of ways you can still get involved. Race Against Blood Cancer requires financial support to spread the word, help educate the public and to run donor registration drives. You can also volunteer at events that we run throughout the year, or run an event of your own.

Alternatively you can donate financially or get involved by volunteering or fundraising and helping us drive donor sign ups.

Are there any other ways to become a donor?

An alternative source of cells used in transplants is cord blood, which is collected from the umbilical cord and placenta immediately after a baby is born. You can check with your local hospital to learn if they have the facility to support this type of donation.

Alternatively you can donate financially or get involved by volunteering or fundraising and helping us drive donor sign ups.



Everything answered?

Hopefully all your questions are answered. If you want to learn more, follow the links below

Alternatively, email us - info@raceagainstbloodcancer.com

What can I do to help? You can help save a life in 1 of 4 ways - find out more
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Donor register
It takes just a few minutes to sign up & help fight blood cancer
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Get involved
With campaigns & fundraising events that help save lives
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Donate funds
Please make a donation so we can get the message out there
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Raise awareness
Help us show how big the problem is & how easy the solution