Mix & Match got underway at the start of September this year. The project got off to a good start with the completion of ethical approvals from the University of Sheffield, for ethnography and social media data analysis which started soon after. The project’s methodology was also presented at two different conferences in September, at King’s College London [read blog here], and at the British Sociological Association’s Medical Sociology conference at the University of York [read blog here].
Since then, I’ve been looking at different social media campaigns run by individuals to try and find their own stem cell match, and I hope to be able to speak to some of the people behind these campaigns in the new year. Analysis of these social media campaigns has already highlighted various issues, challenges and opportunities that social media activity like this can present both to individuals and their families, as well as to the existing stem cell donation infrastructure like registries and recruitment charities.
I’m thankful to have developed some good relationships with research partners at Race Against Blood Cancer, and at African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, have been kind enough to let me join them at some of their stem cell donor drives in the past couple of months in the West Midlands and London areas. I’ve already started to learn a lot about the different skills required to encourage registration, and the different challenges that charities face in this area. I’m planning to attend plenty more of these events in 2020 to learn more, and start thinking about ways to share this learning back to partners, other stakeholders, and the academic community.
I’ve also been lucky enough to spend time with Team Margot, who have developed some great resources for teachers – Giving to Help Others – designed in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant to introduce school-aged children to tissue donation. As another one of the project’s research partners, Team Margot have been generous in giving their time to discuss issue they think are important in this area.
Thank you to everybody who has given their time and thoughts to Mix & Match so far. It’s been a successful first three months of the project, and I am looking forward to learning lots more in the new year.