NUI Galway Senior 8+ Champions of Ireland 2009, with Paul Giblin in the middle.
Dec 11 2014 Posted: 10:32 GMT

“This is a Christmas gift that will keep on giving”

Staff and alumni of NUI Galway are getting behind a campaign to encourage people to consider donating bone marrow. The campaign is inspired by the story of Paul Giblin, an engineering graduate and champion rower for the University, who is battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Now 31 years-old, Paul was diagnosed in April 2012 and is currently undergoing his fourth regime of chemotherapy, having also had an autologous (own) stem-cell transplant and radiotherapy. His best, and possibly only chance to return to health, will be to find a match on the Global Registry, the pool from which all bone marrow donations are drawn.

Friends are pulling together to spread awareness with a view to increasing the number of potential donors in Ireland on the Global Registry. “We are reaching out to family, friends and friends of friends. We are hoping to significantly increase the numbers signing up to become bone marrow donors, to give people in Paul’s situation a fighting chance”, explains Ruadhán Cooke, who is a lecturer in French at NUI Galway and actively involved in the rowing club.

“This is a Christmas gift that will keep on giving and which some day you or a loved one may need and benefit from. The first step is to give a small sample of blood, it’s that simple, and it could be a gift that will someday save a life,” added Ruadhán Cooke.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service will run a dedicated Bone Marrow Recruitment Clinic on Monday,15 December in the Cumasu Centre, Racing Lodge, Doughiska Road, Galway. The clinic will take a small sample of blood to add to the database, and cross check for matches. Anyone interested in attending the clinic on Monday, or other clinics in future, should e-mail BoneMarrow@ibts.ie

Paul is one of Ireland’s most decorated rowers, with 17 Irish Senior champion titles, as well as twice taking gold at Henley Royal Regatta. He was also a medalist at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships and World Student Games. In an impressive couple of seasons on the cycling circuit, he rode the 2010 Rás, and also competed at the World Para Cycling Championships as the sighted pilot in the tandem event.

A qualified civil engineer, Paul retrained and now works as an Army officer, stationed at Dún Uí Mhaolaíosa in Galway. Last weekend he married his fiancé Cate.

For more information on how you can help Paul and others like him visit http://marrowmatch.eu/

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