#PresTalk (7th Week): Marrow Me

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Hi all,

As part of my somewhat vain attempts to get people to know what I do (and hopefully you think some of it’s worthwhile) I’ve started a weekly blog on our website to accompany my weekly video updates.
P.S Yes before you ask, this is going to be very ‘OUSU chat’ heavy, but one of the best things about your Students' Union President here at Oxford is the varied amount of work I get to do - so at least you’ll be reading about different things each week.

So here is everything I’ve got up to in OUSU HQ this week;
I have become a registered bone marrow donor aswell as leading a hundred Oxford students into London as part of the NUS demo where we fought against fees and cuts. I’ve also been invited to speak at a conference in Pompona, engaged with some very exciting work on improving how we spend our outreach and access budgets as a university, chaired my first board away day and flaked on cellar after the JCR Presidents committee.

I think you’ll agree pretty varied.

It’s been a whirlwind week (like any in Oxford) however one thing has stuck in my mind – becoming a member of the bone marrow register. I always thought that bone marrow donation was one of the most painful procedures you could willingly put yourself though - when I was asked to sign up images of Will Smith’s grimacing, vain popping face, entered my mind as massive drills entered his tibia in the film Seven Pounds. As if to illustrate the point somewhat further, when I got home and turned on Netflix to chill out and relax the episode of House that had grabbed my attention, was in fact depicting a complex medial scenario where a patient had to donate bone marrow consciously.
I was beginning to get second thoughts about this whole leading by example malarkey. After all, I already give blood regularly and I had given up palm oil for #VeggiePledge, so I was definitely at least two points to the good in the ethical score sheet.

It turns out however (that on this one occasion) the medical dramas were not 100% accurate. Although I’m sure that every medical student has taken part in a lectures that is reminiscent of at least one episode of House, Scrubs or Holby City (Tuesday night, 8pm – not to be missed) account pertaining to bone marrow donation were not included - the exception that makes the rule I am sure. 90% of marrow donations as it turns out are done through blood donation following a couple of injections to raise the white blood count in the days preceding. On the rare occasion marrow needs to be taken directly it is done under general aesthetic and feels no different to just having a good session at the gym. The whole process involves free transport, food and care and has no lasting effects.

To get tested and registered all you need to do is spit in a jar.
So yeah, that’s what I got up to this week and I hope this little blog has done some serious myth busting for you in relation to becoming a bone marrow donor was for me.

Please sign up to the register and have a good 7th week.

PS. do watch that House episode ("Family", episode 21, season 3) – despite factual inaccuracies it is an absolute corker!

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