Old Redclifians prop Ellis Joseph has been diagnosed with leukaemia and the sport is now pushing the #TryForEllis campaign, launched by the National Two West club. Photo Credit: (Old Redcliffians/Riley Clarke/Steve Mock)

Article from England Rugby

Rugby is rallying around a determined search for a bone marrow match for Old Redclifians prop Ellis Joseph (26) who has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

Ellis, who made 14 appearances for Old Reds last season, was described by head coach Dan Cox as one of the “most pivotal” people at the club as the #TryforEllis campaign continues to be promoted across the game.

“It’s people like him that the club is built around,” Cox told England Rugby. “We talk about the brotherhood of the club quite a lot, and actually he is everything that encapsulates.”

Among those being swabbed were Ellis’ teammates, who lined up at the club’s Scotland Lane ground. Ellis has been told that his mixed heritage may make finding a match more difficult.

Sabrina Jarrett, from the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, said they need more people from mixed-race backgrounds to volunteer for the database.

“We are always the ones, being of African Caribbean or mixed heritage, who wait the longest time to find a stem cell donor,” she said.

“Someone generously joining the register is all that we need at this point because it’s a numbers game. The more people registered, especially from our heritage, means that there’s more chance of patients matching.”

Clare Joseph, Ellis’ mother, said Ellis remains “positive and determined. But it isn’t just Ellis. Sadly, too many people are diagnosed each day with nasty diseases and other blood cancers which all end up needing transplants.”

Rugby clubs throughout the Bristol area have joined the campaign including fellow National Two West side Dings Crusaders. At the recent fixture between the two sides at Shaftesbury Park, Dings raised £1,000 and helped promote #TryForEllis.

A recent week of campaigning saw more than 1,000 members of the Bristol and rugby community come together to offer time, effort, and testing.

Now Old Redcliffians want to spread the word further, urging sports clubs, colleges, universities, and establishments of all sizes to push the campaign through various means to find a match for not only Ellis but also others in desperate need of a donor.

They say everyone can raise awareness and support the campaign by putting out flyers on-site and via social media, ordering a home swab kit, posting photos of teams and staff wearing orange or red/black and tagging #TryForEllis, @OldRedcliffiansRFC and @ACLTcharity, fundraising for ACLT, or launching a drive to get people to come and swab to find out if they are a match.

Those inspired to help can put on a donor registration drive, find out more information about patient appeals or register for a home swab kit for 16-30 years olds or 18-55 year olds.