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#GoSwabYourself campaign

The Anthony Nolan Trust is responsible for the UK’s national register of potential stem cell and bone marrow donors for treating people with blood cancers. However, tissue type is strongly influenced by ethnicity, and there has historically been a problem of insufficient numbers of members of ethnic minority communities on the register.

To address this problem in the Jewish community, the Anthony Nolan Trust has partnered for a number of years with a charity focused on that community, the Sue Harris Trust. When it began its partnership with the Nolan, there were only 48 Jewish donors on the register.

Sue Harris was a close friend of Hope partners, Lionel and Michael. She died 20 years ago of leukaemia. The campaign that began in the (unsuccessful)

quest to find her a matching bone marrow donor continues to this day, and has helped recruit thousands of people to become potential donors of bone marrow or stem cells, and save lives.

This is a tactical social media campaign we ran, built around the hashtag #GoSwabYourself. We wanted to dramatise how, with a simple swab of your cheek, you could see if you were a match for a blood cancer patient needing a stem cell transplant.

We built a giant swab, and asked three comedians to improvise around the theme “What can you do with a cotton bud?” The videos attracted thousands of views and generated a significant spike in people requesting swab kits.