BAME Blood, Stem Cell and Organ Donation — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:13 pm on 27 June 2018.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn 4:13, 27 June 2018

My hon. Friend has stolen one of the questions I was going to ask the Minister, but I will forgive her.

In 2016, a young woman in my constituency called Lara, who was 27 years old and from a BAME background, needed a stem cell donor. The constituency snapped into action and organised the Match4Lara campaign. Elana Wall and Jacob Haddad, the volunteer co-ordinators for Anthony Nolan, co-ordinated 40 volunteers who spent their evenings packing spit kits and organising spit drives and spit drive socials. I went to a spit drive in the O2 Centre on Finchley Road, and I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the youngsters—especially those from a BAME background—who realised that if they took the spit test on the spot, there was a chance they could save a life. My younger sister, Azmina, participated and said that she found the science very accessible. She understood that she needed to raise awareness of the issue among young people. She has recently had a call to say that she could be a potential match for a patient.

Will the Minister address the request to integrate awareness-raising into the school curriculum? Will she talk about how the Department of Health can work with international donor banks? That issue has been raised a few times already. How does she intend to spread the word about stem cell donation among young people, especially those from BAME backgrounds?