Anthony Nolan: Donor sign-ups increase 500% after Ryan Reynold's appeal for Gateshead boy

Reynolds (right) was inspired by Leland's story ahead of their teams' FA Cup qualifier clash. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees/PA

Anthony Nolan have had an sharp increase in sign-ups after Ryan Reynolds' appeal to find a six-year-old from Gateshead a bone marrow donor.

About 1,000 people have registered for a bone marrow donor kit from the blood cancer charity in the 48 hours following the plea from the Hollywood superstar.

This is about a 500% increase on the charity's usual sign-ups of around 79 per day.

It is hoped the interest will lead to a match for Leland, a young Blyth Spartans fan who was been diagnosed with pre-leukaemia last month (September 2022).

Deadpool actor Reynolds, who bought Wrexham AFC with fellow actor Rob McElhenney in 2020, shared Leland's story on Monday (17 October) ahead of his team's FA Cup qualifier clash with Blyth.

He tweeted: "He's cheering for Blyth Spartans tomorrow. I'm cheering for Wrexham AFC. But we'd both like to beat cancer."

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer also shared a message of support from his trip to the US, where he told the six-year-old to enjoy his time as mascot.

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: "Leland is a lovely little boy with a wonderful family, who are waiting for the happy news that a stranger is a genetic match for him.

"Leland’s story is inspiring football fans around the world to join the stem cell donor register.

"Support from personalities like Alan Shearer and Ryan Reynolds is extending our message and informing more young people about their lifesaving potential than we could ever hope for."

Blyth Spartans players wore Anthony Nolan shirts during their pre-match warm-up. Credit: Stephen Beecroft

People from the UK aged between 16 and 30 can join the Anthony Nolan register online by answering a health-check form.

The charity will send a cheek swab in the post and if you are found to be the best match for a patient in need, you will likely be asked to donate via the bloodstream.

Henny Braund added: "We’re particularly appealing to young men to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register.

"They are 13 times more likely than anyone else to be chosen to donate their stem cells to a patient in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant".

Leland's family, who have been sharing his story on social media, said they were "blown away" by the generosity people had shown.

Mum Sarah said Leland had an amazing time and "loved every minute". She added: "I am blown away with everyones generosity to support Leland and his fight."

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