I mentioned last week about Tracey, the De Montfort University girl, who’s dying of leukaemia. Today I visited a bone marrow registration session, where hundreds of black students – the donor has to be of the same ethnic background as the recipient – gave a sample of their blood to see if they matched.
For some reason people of African heritage are much more reluctant to come forward to be a potential bone marrow donor but Tracey’s story had clearly hit home.
One 18-year-old boy, from one of Leicester’s most deprived areas, provided me with one of those small moments in life that make you happy.
Full of bravado in front of his friends, and wearing clothing that would doubtless frighten many a granny in the street, he admitted to me he was scared of needles, from a culture, he said, that was not in favour of blood donation, and he’s never met Tracey. He said: “When I heard I just had to come. I just thought, what would I do if this was my sister?”
Whenever I go to schools I’m told the media aren’t interested in the good things that young people do. That’s rubbish. Getting that message across is the single most difficult thing about my job.