Thursday 19th July 2012
TV doctor Christian Jessen has joined forces with a blood cancer charity to dispel the myth that gay men cannot donate stem cells.
Dr Jessen, who presents Channel 4 show Embarrassing Bodies, is working with charity Anthony Nolan to recruit donors at Gay Pride festivals and get them to sign up to its register.
He said: "There are many myths surrounding stem cell donation, but one of the most common is that gay men can't join the Anthony Nolan register.
"This isn't true. Anthony Nolan welcomes everyone regardless of their sexuality, so I think it's fantastic that Anthony Nolan is tackling this head-on and targeting the gay community through the Pride recruitment events.
"I'd urge every gay man who's attending one of the Prides to join the register. All it takes is a small saliva sample to sign up, and you may find you've saved someone's life."
David Jones from Nottingham, who is openly bisexual, joined the Anthony Nolan register at school. He said: "At first I wasn't sure if I could join the register as I couldn't donate blood, but when I found out that such restrictions didn't apply to Anthony Nolan I joined up straight away.
"If at some point I was called up to donate, I would feel so proud to help someone combat their debilitating health, and potentially save their life."
David, who will be helping out at the Anthony Nolan stand at Nottingham Pride, added: "If I could say one thing to other gay and bisexual men, it would be to join up. We have restrictions on so many things, how we marry, not being able to give blood, but this is something positive that we can do."
The charity will be recruiting new donors at Norwich, Nottingham, Leicester and Manchester Prides during July and August and hopes to expand into other cities next year.