P.H.R.U.F.C. Rugby Versus Leukaemia
Campaign Launched Programme targets new Bone Marrow donors
By Ron Bates
Power House Rugby Union Football Club launched its unique Rugby Versus Leukaemia Challenge at its Clubhouse on Saturday November 17th, 2018. The event was supported by a crowd representing past players, officials and supporters as well as current club officials, coaches and members of the present playing group.
A representative of the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR), Ms Melissa Ludescher, explained the seriousness of the shortage of suitable bone marrow donors in this country, and across the world.
The brain-child of Peter Selby, a prominent past-player of New Zealand Maori heritage; Peter is himself is a suffer of Leukaemia and in his journey has discovered much about the relatively high incidence of Leukaemia and related conditions amongst the various racial groups who originated in the Pacific Region. Peter also found out that for various reasons, people of Pacific Islands heritage living in Australia are under-represented in the ABMR (which also has world-wide connections).*
As Peter had personal experience of the immense difficulty in finding a suitable “match” for himself in the Registry (and even among his own family) he realised that the Rugby Union community in Australia, with its large number of players having a Pacific Islands family background, could provide an excellent source of Bone Marrow Donors who may suit – if they could be contacted and convinced to become donors.
So, the idea of the Rugby Union Challenge was born.
Power House Rugby Union intends to promote the idea of becoming registered Bone Marrow Donors and Blood/Plasma donors amongst its own players and their extended families in the forthcoming season (2020) and into the future.
Once the club has secured a significant number of new donors from its community, it plans to “throw down the gauntlet” to other Rugby clubs in the local Rugby Union to see who can secure the most donors over a given period such as the playing season.
The club will begin promoting the Challenge at the commencement of Pre-Season Training in 2020.
*Note: A study conducted by M.C. Tracey and J.M. Carter of Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand, concluded: “that, among New Zealand Maori and New Zealand Pacific Islanders, there is an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia in age groups suitable for stem-cell transplantation. However, both of these ethnic groups have previously been shown to have a reduced chance of finding a 6/6-matched unrelated donor on international registries.”
Published American Journal of Hematology 79:114–118, 2005. ª 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc