THE mum of a six-year-old with leukaemia has said that stem cell donors should ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ to a register for donors.

Olivia Saxelby, mum of Oscar Saxelby-Lee, called for a change to the system after we revealed that donor drives last year had found six potential lifesavers who had donated to blood cancer victims.

The events were held to encourage more people to join the donor register after Oscar’s parents revealed he had been diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) and had only three months to find a stem cell donor.

However, currently only two per cent of the UK population is on the register.

Blood charity DMKS says that at any one time there are around 2,000 people in the UK in need of a blood stem cell transplant from a stranger.

And, every year, more than 12,000 people die from blood cancer in the UK.

Ms Saxelby said: “The need for stem cell donors is shockingly high.

“I feel this type of donation is not invasive at all and should be offered within on opt-out system rather than opt-in.

“If we hadn’t found Oscar a stem cell donor, he may have not been here with us today.”

Kate Wilcock, the headteacher at Pitmaston Primary School, which held a two-day drive that added nearly 5,000 to the donor register, said organising the drive had been a huge learning curve for her and school staff .

She said: “There must be a better way.

“I feel quite strongly about this. It would be so much better if people opted out rather than opted in - instead of always having to have this push to find the donors so desperately needed.”

Jonathan Pearce, CEO for DKMS UK, said: "We are pleased the government’s new "opt-out" system for organ donation will be implemented in England in just a few weeks. This is fantastic news for the thousands of people who lose their lives each year due to a lack of available organ donors.

"Blood Cancer (such as leukaemia, myeloma or lymphoma) is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

"Over 30,000 people each year are diagnosed with a blood cancer in the UK and there are 2,000 people each year searching for a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant. Yet, just two percent of the population is registered on the blood stem cell register, meaning that many people in need of a transplant will be unable to find a suitable match.

"There needs to be a huge increase in those available for a stem cell transplant if we are to save more lives. At the time the “opt-out” system is being introduced for organ donation, it would be transformative if more could be done to raise awareness of the need for more people to register as potential stem cell donors.

"And DKMS calls upon the government to support national public awareness campaigns, and make blood stem cell donation a mandatory part of the school curriculum."