Young blood donors aged 18-35 years are being urged to take an extra two-minute step at the blood bank and add their name to the stem cell register as part of a new initiative, Liam’s Life-saving List.
The campaign was launched in a bid to save the life of father of two Liam O’Brien and thousands of other Australians with blood cancer, urgently in need of a stem cell match.
What started as a social media campaign created by family and friends has quickly become a nationwide call to arms, garnering the support of celebrities, politicians and business owners, generously using their influence to urge young Australians to join the stem cell register.
Liam was diagnosed with leukemia just six months ago, shortly after his 40th birthday. And like 70% of people with blood cancer and related conditions, he’s relying on the stem cell register to find a suitable match.
“The idea of being a stem cell donor can sound a little scary but joining the register is actually very simple. All you have to do is give a small amount of extra blood when donating, which takes less than two minutes,” says wife Josephine O’Brien.
Josephine spoke with Jonesy & Amanda about this important campaign her family is running. Listen to their interview above.
“We think it’s important that Australians understand this, because finding a stem cell match is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s a person-to-person match, and Australia has one of the lowest stem cell registers in the world. We need as many names as possible, not just for Liam, but for so many in critical need.” she says.
There are currently 135,000 Australians living with blood cancer or a related blood disorder and over 5,950 lose their lives each year. The number of Australian donors has shrunk significantly over the last decade, and donation organisations estimate we will need an additional 110,000 names to keep up with the current demand.