Presenter, Author and YouTuber Dr Alex George surprised a third-year medical student and co-president of Anthony Nolan student volunteer group Cardiff Marrow this week.
Doctors found and treated a tumour on Joanna's spine back in 2018, but earlier this year she was told that the cancer had come back. Joanna now needs four months of chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant. As a huge fan of Dr Alex she was thrilled to be able to meet him in a surprise organised by her sister, Anthony Nolan and her friends.
Joanna said: 'It was an amazing surprise! I'm so grateful that Alex came down to Cardiff to meet us and it has been great to see even more people signing up to the stem cell register'.
Alex said: ‘I first became aware of Anthony Nolan’s work when my friend was diagnosed with leukaemia, and received a stem cell transplant after the charity found her a matching donor.
‘I’m honoured that I got the opportunity to meet Joanna today, who also needs a stem cell transplant. Hearing about how she has been working hard to encourage students at Cardiff University to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register has been truly inspiring and I would encourage anyone aged 16-30 to consider signing up, you may give someone with blood cancer a second chance of life.’
Terence Lovell, Chief Marketing & Engagement Officer at Anthony Nolan said:
'Through her role as Co-President of Cardiff Marrow Joanna has encouraged hundreds of young people to find out more about stem cell donation. To see the look on her face as Alex surprised her made my heart soar, and we are incredibly grateful to him for making Joanna's day!
'Our data shows that when celebrities shine the spotlight on the simple but life-changing act of donating stem cells it can play an important role in inspiring people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register. Thank you to Alex for helping to raise vital awareness of our work and setting such a brilliant and selfless example to young people.'
Anthony Nolan is appealing to young men to sign up to its register, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate to a blood cancer patient in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant. The charity is also urging people from minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up because, genetically, patients are far more likely to be matched with somebody with a similar ethnicity.
To find out more about joining the Anthony Nolan register visit anthonynolan.org/dralex.