Northern Ireland news

Ulster GAA partner with Anthony Nolan charity for stem cell research

Ulster GAA CEO/Secretary Brian McAvoy and regional hurling development officer Oisín MacManus, with Anthony Nolan representatives Amy, Ryan and Claire
Suzanne McGonagle

ULSTER GAA is urging its members to "play their part and potentially help save the life of someone else" by signing the stem cell donor register.

It comes after the sporting organisation joined forces with the Anthony Nolan charity in a bid to raise awareness of stem cell and bone marrow donations.

A number of GAA clubs have previously hosted donor recruitment events, but it is hoped that many more will now get involved following the official link-up with the charity.

Anthony Nolan makes life-saving connections between patients and strangers ready to donate their stem cells.

Stem cell and bone marrow donations are vitally important, as often transplants of this nature are the last hope for someone who would otherwise die from a life-threatening blood disorder.

Recruitment through GAA clubs are of particular value because, although anyone aged 16- 61 years old can register as a donor, male donors aged 16-30 years old are the most sought after.

Brian McAvoy, Ulster GAA CEO/provincial secretary said: "Given our community base and wide membership range it is a natural fit for Ulster GAA to 'team-up' with Anthony Nolan.

"In particular, the high numbers of young adult males involved on our games makes us a highly attractive partner.

"Signing the stem cell donor register is a relatively simple process and I encourage all our members to play their part and potentially help save the life of someone else.

"Moving forward, Ulster GAA looks forward to building our links with and promoting the good work of Anthony Nolan."

Holly Gooch from Anthony Nolan said it hopes the partnership with Ulster GAA will "help give even more people a second chance at life".

"Signing up to the register is easy - all it takes is less than 10 minutes to fill in a quick online form and do a few cheek swabs, and is the first step in potentially saving a life," she said.

"We know that young men are more likely to be chosen to donate their stem cells, so this partnership is an incredible step in making sure everyone who needs a stem cell transplant gets a second chance at life."

Northern Ireland news