Almost 50,000 people signed up to donate bone marrow in the space of 48 hours after a daily newspaper launched a campaign to save a young girl’s life.
The Record exclusively revealed in July how the first donor pulled out at the last minute before Ava was due to undergo an operation, having been diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure having fallen ill in March.
A series of exclusive stories by the Glasgow-based paper followed, highlighting bone marrow transplants and the positive effect they can have – prompting 11,000 to sign the register by 2 August.
A new donor was eventually found thanks to the coverage, but they too pulled out.
The Record then launched a further appeal, and by the morning of 20 October more than 37,000 further people had committed to signing the register.
By lunchtime on the same day, the number had increased to more than 49,000 who had signed up in two days.
Record assistant editor David Clegg said: “The plight of Ava Stark has touched the hearts of a nation. Astonishingly, more than 60,000 people have volunteered to be potential bone marrow donors since we first told of Ava’s desperate fight for life.
“And almost 50,000 people have signed up with charities Anthony Nolan and DKMS within two days of us revealing the devastating news that her stem cell transplant had been cancelled for the second time in four months on Tuesday.
“There are some people who think we now live in a selfish age – or that there’s no such thing as society any more. This remarkable effort has shown that people are still capable of great acts of altruism when the opportunity presents itself.
“It has also been a prime example of the good that newspapers can do – when they really get behind a project and run with it. Our reporter Sarah Vesty, Scotland’s young journalist of the year, deserves great credit for her determination in getting this story out there.
“Ava and her brave mum Marie deserve every support. We will be backing Ava all the way as she fights this illness. The Daily Record’s army of readers will also be right there to help her.”