Giving a Spit

August 04, 2015

This isn't easy for me to talk about - I'm afraid there's no way to go about it without opening a can of worms for some, but I feel compelled to speak out in the hope that spreading awareness on this topic might just save someone's life.
My greatest fear is (touch wood) of myself or my loved ones falling prey to terminal illness. It's not so much mortality I fear: what keeps me up at night is the thought of a life cut short by a cruel twist of fate; having hopes for a future slowly and painfully fade ever further from me even as I'm wracked with suffering by the ravages of an illness with no cure in sight, leaving only a legacy of anguish and suffering in my friends and family. I'm very fortunate to  have the best of both worlds when it comes to medical attention - I spend half my time in the UK, which has the best public healthcare system in the world, and the rest of the time I have access to the best private healthcare money can buy back in Malaysia. Even so, there are malaises that no amount of money in the world can help you with simply because there are some things that just can't be bought. Or maybe they can, but time isn't on one's side. In this instance I'm talking about blood cancer - the life-saving cure for which is stem cell donations. 
Enter Anthony Nolan. The blood cancer charity, who runs the UK's register of stem cell donors, give three people the chance of life everyday by matching them with selfless donors. The thing is, finding the live-saving stem cell match isn't guaranteed - currently, only 60% of patients are able to find a perfect match on the register. The very urgent and pressing problem is that right now, Anthony Nolan needs many more young people especially men aged between 16-30  to sign up on the register to increase a blood cancer patient's chance of finding a stem cell donor. It sounds daunting, but joining  the Anthony Nolan stem cell register is astonishingly easy - all you have to do is Give A Spit about blood cancer. Literally - all it takes to join the register of potential life-saving donors is to simply spit into a tube, send it off to Anthony Nolan, and wait to see if you're found to be a match. It might be weeks, months, years, or not at all - but if you are found to be a match and go on to donate, you can donate your stem cells in a quick and easy process similar to giving blood. This animation explains the process from beginning to end:

I'm collaborating with Anthony Nolan on their latest campaign to raise awareness among young people, especially men aged 16-30, to 'Give A Spit' about blood cancer. Ashish has designed a tee for Anthony Nolan with their slogan #IGiveASpit which I was asked to customise. When I think of Ashish, their embellished slogan tees especially 'Holy Chic' immediately came to mind so it was only fitting that I decorated mine with beads for an iridescent, striking statement that more than catches the light, but also catches the eye.

If you are a man and aged between 16-30, I urge you to Give A Spit about blood cancer - it's free, it's fast, it's easy and you could potentially save someone's life. That someone could be young or old, a complete stranger or even someone you know and love - either way, it's good karma, and so much more than that; it's the gift of hope and a fighting second chance at life. So far, I've already convinced my partner Henry and his friend Thomas (who is also a paramedic) to give a spit about blood cancer - Henry's already ordered his 'spit kit'-  this is one instance that I'll allow him to spit in my presence. Only for a good cause! 

Learn more about Anthony Nolan and 8 ways you could save a life, including Giving A Spit about blood cancer. You can pick up the limited edition t-shirt from Anthony Nolan’s eBay site or from YrStore, in the flagship Topshop and Topman on Oxford Street. x

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