One-man mission for blood cancer
George Arthur Bowman is on a mission to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors.
He had his head shaved last Tuesday to raise money for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan – but losing those few inches of hair was just a small part of a much bigger campaign.
George Arthur, 24, joined the Environment Agency in Worthing in July, as a graduate trainee in flood and coastal risk management.
His elder sister, Janine, had leukaemia when she was five so it has always played a part in his life but it was his own effort to help more recently that really spurred him on to do more to raise awareness.
He explained: “Janine was one of the lucky ones and survived. I was only two at the time.
“In January, my friend sent out a plea for all of us to register with the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor list and spread the word.
“Having witnessed my sister battle with leukaemia from a young age I knew that the chances of finding a match were slim. Eager to help in any way I could, within a week I had joined the list.
“I completely forgot about it until September, when I was told they had found a match. I had to do blood samples and a medical in London, then I was selected to make the donation and stayed in hospital for two nights.
“A lot of people think it is painful but it is not any more. The procedure is so simple. You can genuinely save someone’s life. My main aim is to get other people to sign up.”
His friend was prompted to make the appeal because her friend, Alice Byron, had been diagnosed with blood cancer and was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
Alice fought the disease bravely for 12 months but sadly died in July.
George Arthur donated his bone marrow on October 26 and dedicated it to Alice ‘because not everyone is fortunate to find a match’.
He added: “I didn’t know Alice, I never met nor spoke with her but she has inspired me more than most – she recruited over 100 people to join the register.
“Now I wish to help in carrying on her hard work by increasing awareness, inspiring others to join to register and raising funds in aid of Anthony Nolan. The more donors they have, the more lives can be saved.”
George Arthur has already done a sponsored body wax and a 100-mile cycle and has many more events lined up for next year to continue his campaign.
He has also done a talk at Varndean College and seen a number of people sign up to the bone marrow register.
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