Norman Grimes, 57, from Gravesend is becoming a lifesaver for the second time as he prepares to run the Virgin Money London Marathon for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
Norman became one of the first people in the world to successfully donate bone marrow to an unrelated recipient when he saved the life of Joanna Ciruk in 1981. Joanna had aplastic anaemia and was given weeks to live before Norman was found to be a match through the newly established Anthony Nolan register. Norman went on to meet Shirley Nolan, who founded the register, and his pioneering transplant experience was featured in medical journals.
Norman, a leadership trainer, is now training to run his ninth marathon for Anthony Nolan in April. He said: ‘I was very privileged to be a donor at the very beginning and it’s given my life an enormous amount of meaning – no matter what else I do I know I’ve made a difference to someone. I’m hoping to raise £2,000 by running the marathon to help recruit as many people as possible to the Anthony Nolan register.’
Kirsty Low, head of events at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘Norman is one of our original lifesavers and has gone on to become a dedicated fundraiser for the charity. This year, Norman will be running to save lives, mile by mile.
‘The money he raises will help us recruit more people onto the donor register to make sure we can find a match for everyone who needs a transplant.’
Norman has previously run eight marathons in London and Paris, raising an estimated £12,000 for Anthony Nolan. It costs Anthony Nolan £60 to add each new donor to its register, so Norman’s fundraising efforts could fund up to 200 new donors. For someone with blood cancer, that’s 200 more chances of finding a cure.
He added: ‘I think the support from Anthony Nolan is stupendous. The marathon cheer groups are amazing - when you’re nearly at the end and dead on your feet you see an enormous group of people cheering for you. It’s wonderful and the encouragement makes all the difference.’
To find out more about Anthony Nolan's amazing events, visit our dedicated fundraising page.