TV star 500,000th bone marrow donor

This Is Lancashire: Made In Chelsea star Stevie Johnson has become the 500,000th donor to join the bone marrow register Made In Chelsea star Stevie Johnson has become the 500,000th donor to join the bone marrow register

A star of the TV show Made In Chelsea has become the 500,000th donor to join the bone marrow register.

Stevie Johnson, 24, said he was inspired to join the Anthony Nolan list after reading about Victoria Rathmill, the youngest ever person to donate her bone marrow to a stranger aged just 17.

He said: "I saw last month that a teenage girl had potentially saved the life of a total stranger by donating her bone marrow. It wasn't something that was on my radar at all before then, but I thought that was pretty remarkable that a teenager had the selflessness to do something like that.

"When I heard how much Anthony Nolan needs young men to join the register, I didn't hesitate to sign up. I was shocked that only one in four people who sign up online are men, especially as it's so simple to do."

Stevie marked his signing by taking leukaemia survivor Rebecca Earley to an afternoon treat at the King's Road restaurant Bluebird Chelsea in London.

Rebecca, 23, from Uxbridge, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia two years ago and owes her life to her anonymous bone marrow donor.

She said: "I had been feeling under the weather for a long time but I thought I was just doing too much with university, working part-time and still fitting in a social life like any normal 21-year-old."

After months of symptoms, Rebecca was eventually diagnosed during a trip to A&E.

After an unsuccessful round of chemotherapy, she was told a bone marrow transplant was her best chance of overcoming the disease.

She said: "Doctors tested my brother to see if he was a match but he wasn't and that's when they used the Anthony Nolan register to find an unrelated donor.

"I cannot put into words how thankful I am for my donor and will be forever grateful to him, and to Anthony Nolan. Without him I would not be here today."

Ann O'Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said: "Anyone can be an anonymous hero - from celebrities like Stevie, to normal teenagers like Victoria, who recently became our youngest ever donor.

"We hope that Stevie will inspire even more young people to join our team of half a million heroes and be the cure for blood cancer, either by joining the register or raising vital funds."

People aged 16 to 30 in good health can join the bone marrow register.

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