Fareham Leisure Centre colleagues want to raise support for cancer charity

Cycle ride to raise awareness for mental health after success of Fareham event

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WHEN one of their colleagues was helped by a bone marrow donation, staff at a leisure centre felt they should do something.

They were so pleased that Chris Spencer was given another chance at life that they wanted to offer others the same – so they are now holding a stem cell recruitment day tomorrow to encourage more donors to come forward.

HERE TO HELP From left, Natasha Page, Gary Paish, Amanda Roberts, Aarron Conroy, Nigel Ashton,  Luke Sweeney, Bryony Jones, Tom Rossiter and Tom Harding at Fareham leisure centre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1492-516)

HERE TO HELP From left, Natasha Page, Gary Paish, Amanda Roberts, Aarron Conroy, Nigel Ashton, Luke Sweeney, Bryony Jones, Tom Rossiter and Tom Harding at Fareham leisure centre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1492-516)

Chris, 48, underwent a bone marrow transplant in November through the Anthony Nolan stem cell charity.

He said: ‘Anthony Nolan contacted me in September to say they had found a match. It was fantastic, as a lot of people wait for years. Everything is moving in the right direction, although I am living like a monk and can’t mix with people. It’s really hard. We need to try to raise awareness and I’m really grateful for my colleagues’ efforts. There are 470,000 people on the register and 70,000 in need of a donor.’

The testing day has been organised by Everyone Active, which runs the leisure centre, and it will be taking place across the country in the hope that more people register to become lifesaving donor for those suffering with blood cancers. All that is needed is a saliva sample.

Gary Paish, customer services manager at Fareham Leisure Centre, said: ‘There are thousands of people with blood cancers and their only hope of survival is a donation of healthy stem cells.

Chris Spencer

Chris Spencer

‘We are urging people to come in to give their spit so they can register to act as donors to help save some of these people.

‘We have rallied our team and they are all coming in, they are calling it “spit and Oast” as they are making an event of it by coming in and then going on to the Oast and Squire pub.

‘The more people who do it, the more likelihood there will be of a match, then people like Chris will not be on the waiting list for so long.’

Everyone Active general manager Ryan Grant said: ‘We are raising awareness to help support Anthony Nolan’s invaluable work.

‘We’re giving the public the opportunity to see whether they’re a match. You never know, you could be someone’s hero or heroine, so please come along and register.’

The donor recruitment day is tomorrow from 4.30pm until 8pm. Anyone aged 16 to 30 in good health can become a donor. It’s easy to register – participants need to drop into Fareham Leisure Centre on the day, fill in a medical form and provide a saliva sample.

Donors will remain on the register until the age of 60.

For more information, call the centre on 01329 233652 or visit everyoneactive.com