Would a stranger save your life? It may depend on who you are, where you live and whether you’ve got a family, according to a survey for Anthony Nolan, a charity which relies on the kindness of strangers.
People in the South East are more likely to come to the aid of their pet than to help a male or teenage stranger in danger, new research has revealed.
A poll conducted for the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan found that overwhelmingly, nearly four out of five people in the South East (82%) would be willing to help their pet if it was in danger.
However, only 56% of the 316 respondents from the South East would be willing to help a man on his own and just 66% would help a teenager they didn’t know, if they saw them in a risky situation. Pensioners (92%) and children (87%) on their own in danger were most likely to enlist the sympathy of a kind-hearted stranger in the region.
When asked what would prevent them from stepping in to help a stranger in danger, 42% of people in the South East said they would be concerned about risking their own safety, while 39% said they would not know how to help.
Anthony Nolan released the results today as it announced that, after forty years of appealing for bone marrow donors, more than three people every day are given a secondhance at life, thanks to a generous stranger – but it’s still not enough.
The overall YouGov survey  of 2,353 adults across Britain also revealed that ‘selfie culture’ may be making us more selfish when it comes to helping strangers.
Some 15% of British 18 to 24-year-olds have pretended to be on the phone or texting to avoid helping a stranger who was in danger.
And nearly one in ten (9%) in this age group surveyed online have seen a person in danger and posted about it on social media, rather than helping – although on a positive note, almost half of this age group (47%) have intervened and offered to help.
The survey also shed light on the areas people are from who are most likely to have helped a stranger. Only 49% of adults in the East Midlands having helped a person in danger, the poll reveals. In contrast, 63% of adults in both Wales and Scotland – well over half - have stepped in to help a stranger.
Meanwhile, in the South East, only 55% have intervened to help a stranger in a risky situation.
The findings are particularly significant for Anthony Nolan, which relies on the kindness of strangers who join the charity’s register of potential bone marrow donors. Despite the survey showing 71% of people from the South East would be willing to donate stem cells to a stranger with blood cancer, in reality less than one per cent (0.8%) of the British population are on the Anthony Nolan register.
Anthony Nolan Chief Executive, Henny Braund, said: “These findings have raised thought provoking questions around how far we would each go to save a stranger’s life.
“We can all be guilty of seeing a stranger in need and assuming someone else will help. But every day, three amazing donors give someone the chance of life by donating their stem cells, without knowing anything about the person they are helping. That is quite remarkable.”
When asked what would prevent them from stepping in to help a stranger in danger, the most common reasons people gave were concern about risking their own safety and not knowing how to help.
But it’s not all bad news – only five per cent said that they wouldn’t help a stranger because they were ‘too busy’, and seven per cent said it would be because they ‘didn’t know the person’.
“What is interesting is that most people, whatever their age, aren’t inherently selfish – they simply don’t know how to help, or they are understandably worried about their own safety,” Henny Braund commented. “What many people may not realise is that when it comes to saving a stranger with blood cancer, there is a very simple way to do something truly life-changing for another family.”
Find out how you can save the life of a stranger – visit www.anthonynolan.org/strangers