Anthony Nolan: UK Asian community rallies, Asian=Asian?

We are thrilled to welcome  Anthony Nolan as our newest forthcoming contributors. To preface their contributions, we’re sharing one of their biggest successes in bone marrow donor outreach in the UK’s Asian community. Police inspector Rik Basra’s story served to mobilize a huge swath of the Asian population, recruiting about 1,000 Asian donors in half a year, resulting in “a 300% increase on the previous period.”

The epicenter for the campaign was Leicester and then efforts expanded to Birmingham. Not only were the sheer number of registrants impressive, but the news coverage was very successful, with features from premier UK press outlets like the BBC and iTV. Here’s a clip from a BBC radio show, which features Rik Basra’s story at 17:25.  Interestingly, You and Yours has also hosted some public discussion about organ transplantation. 

Rik Basra received a transplant on Christmas Eve 2011 (Image courtesy of Anthony Nolan)

It’s interesting to note that there is a significant pull with respect to campaigns featuring first responders. While the Basra campaign does not evoke the same notion of heroism, it seems that the outreach networks for first responders, military servicemen, police officers, and firefighters, do tend to generate a wellspring of registrants and media attention as modern real-life heroes, just as donors are simultaneously valorized as heroes in the outreach process.

Transatlantic Identities 

As our readers may know, TransplantInformers is supported by the Asian American Donor Program (AADP). AADP has an expansive outreach scope of multi-ethnic populations both within and beyond Asian America, using community specific grassroots mobilization. Likewise, the Basra campaign and the You and Yours discussion emphasize Asians reaching out to Asians directly, which has accounted for the breakthrough uptick in registration and support.

That interest in multi-ethnic inclusion is also reflected in the Diversity Focus section of TransplantInformers, and part of what we want to do with this section is bring attention to the diverse conceptions of diversity in international contexts. It is worth noting that transatlantic Asian identities do have some overlap, but also some differences. And that may necessitate varied adaptations of outreach strategies, but there is also a great opportunity for crossover application. It’s something I’ve given thought to personally, having studied transatlantic Black/Asian connections, and as an multi-ethnic Asian American woman who has spent some time living in London and may again do so in the future. Those differences and similarities in transatlantic identities are something we also hope to explore in our exchange of ideas about donor outreach and education in our respective communities. Keep following TransplantInformers for forthcoming contributions from Anthony Nolan, which will undoubtedly enrich the conversation.

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