Team Margot salutes your actions and asks you to help get 'Just One More' lifesaver on the register.
The family of a courageous little girl who inspired the global ‘Team Margot’ campaign have a question for everyone on our bone marrow register: could you help get just one more lifesaver to sign up?
The ‘Just One More’ campaign is inspired by Margot Martini’s battle with two different forms of leukaemia. Join the campaign here.
“Your friend, relative or colleague could be the lifesaving hero that one family are desperately waiting for,” said Yaser Martini, Margot’s dad.
Explaining the inspiration behind his campaign, Yaser said: “Margot’s appeal led to more than 35,000 people signing up to a stem cell register which is absolutely amazing. But in terms of the bigger picture, the needle has only very slightly moved. When you consider how rare it is to be a match and how many tens of thousands of families are out there waiting for a donor, it still doesn’t scratch the surface.
“We thought to ourselves, there are all these hundreds of thousands of altruistic people out there who have taken that positive decision to join a register, knowing what it means. If they’ve done that, can we ask them to do just one more amazing thing?
“It’s a small ask, perhaps as simple as having a chat with a friend and getting ‘just one more’ person to join the register. But if everyone who has already signed up with Anthony Nolan did it, there’d be more than a million potential lifesavers on the register and together we would have achieved something remarkable.
‘If everyone got just one more person to sign up, we’d have well over a million lifesavers’
“I’m a full on believer of the work of Anthony Nolan. And I’m not alone - there’s an army of us out there; we probably need a word for it, like the ‘Beliebers’ have! Together, if we all sign up just one more person, we might save not only individual people’s lives, but as a result, help enrich the lives of entire families, relationships and communities. The ripple effect of what we can do is extraordinary.”
Margot was diagnosed at fourteen months old with two forms of leukaemia, last October, an incredibly rare diagnosis. She received a bone marrow transplant in February this year, after a worldwide campaign to find a donor.
“Looking back at that period of our lives, when we were totally desperate in every sense of the word, we felt helpless,” Yaser recalls. “Our daughter’s life depended on a benevolent stranger, somewhere in the world, signing up to a bone marrow register. Campaigning for a donor partly helped us feel like we were actually doing something to help.”
It continues to be an uncertain time for the family, who have already faced so much. Margot’s bone marrow transplant has been partly successful, but the family recently learned that Margot was in the early stages of relapse, with tests showing that traces of the disease have returned. The family are now waiting to hear if the Graft vs Leukaemia has worked and are currently looking into other therapies.
‘Our focus now is to enjoy every day we spend together and help others’
“It’s all a bit surreal and very confusing and we are still working out what it means. Margot appears well – she has started stringing sentences together, she learns something new every day, she runs around doing all the things that two-year-old girls do, and she looks healthy. In that sense, we can hardly believe that she’s got this disease in her. If a doctor was to tell us that actually, they’d made a terrible mistake and she was actually fine, we’d instantly believe them. It’s hard to come to terms with. But we remain so grateful that she has been given this chance, thanks to her donor.
“Our focus now is just to hang on, enjoy every day we spend together and to help others going through the same thing. Anyone who has ever been through something like this will recognise what we’re saying because you wouldn’t ever wish for anyone else to go through this.”
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development, said: “We are so grateful to Margot’s family for spearheading this potentially life-changing campaign and pouring their energies into helping other families. With just one more person on the register, we could carry out one more transplant and save one more life. So at the bus stop, in class, down the pub – please tell just one more person about what you have done and encourage them to join our register and help someone in desperate need.”