Every 28 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with blood cancer, and for many a blood stem cell transplant from a complete stranger is their only hope.

However Australia’s pool for bone marrow donors is small which makes us heavily reliant on overseas supply.

To increase bone marrow donors amongst Australians, the Albanese Labor Government in coordination with state Health Ministers, will release $4.2 million from the Cord Blood Export Revenue (CBER) fund.

The funding will support recruitment efforts through more blood testing and cheek swabs and other activities to increase donor numbers.

“As Australia becomes more diverse it is important that more Australians from diverse backgrounds register to become bone marrow donors,” Member for Werriwa Anne Stanley said.

Around 135,000 Australians are living with blood cancer or a blood disorder, and by 2035 that number is expected to increase to more than 275,000.

“Bone marrow transplants are often the only available treatment for Australians with blood cancers, and the more donors the more likely they are to find a match,” Ms Stanley said.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s CEO Chris Tanti welcomed the government’s initiative saying, “The commitment from government to address the critical need for more bone marrow and stem cell donors is commendable.

“These efforts align perfectly with our mission to ensure that every Australian diagnosed with a blood cancer has access to the best possible care, including life-saving transplants.”

Those interested in becoming bone marrow donors can register and receive a home- delivered cheek swab at https://strengthtogive.org.au/.