Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex has visited the Anthony Nolan Cell Therapy Centre in Nottingham (seen l-r in photo above - Simon Dyson MBE, Professor Nigel Healey, Jane Dyson, Professor Alejandro Madrigal)
Her Royal Highness visited the blood cancer charity’s centre, on the campus of Nottingham Trent University, on July 2.
Her Royal Highness was introduced to Simon Dyson MBE, Chairman of Anthony Nolan, Professor Alejandro Madrigal, Scientific Director at Anthony Nolan, Richard Bullock OBE MA DL, Former Chairman of Nottingham Trent University, and Professor Nigel Healey, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University.
Her Royal Highness then had the opportunity to meet other members of Anthony Nolan staff, and to find out more about the centre’s work, accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.
Her Royal Highness also spoke to Nilush Aponso, 34, from Leicester, who received a stem cell transplant from stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood.
Nilush had the lifesaving transplant in 2013 after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia which relapsed despite aggressive treatment and he has recently returned to work.
Sorrel Mason, 10, from Suffolk, who had a stem cell transplant in 2007 using stem cells from umbilical cords donated in Japan, also met the Countess during her visit along with her younger sister Daisy.
Her Royal Highness with Sorrel and Daisy
Sorrel presented Her Royal Highness - who also unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit - with a posy.
Nilush said: “I was delighted to meet The Countess of Wessex – it was an absolute privilege.
“I am so pleased that Her Royal Highness is supportive of Anthony Nolan’s life-saving work. It is a fantastic charity which is extremely close to my heart. I would not be here today if they hadn’t found me a matching cord to enable me to have my transplant.”
Her Royal Highness with Damilola Aboyeji, Laboratory Scientist at Anthony Nolan
The Anthony Nolan Cell Therapy Centre is run by the pioneering blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, which matches potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant.
As well as running the bone marrow donor register, the charity collects umbilical cord blood which is vital in the fight against blood cancers.
Anthony Nolan collects cord blood at hospitals in London, Leicester and Manchester.
This blood is rich in potentially life-saving stem cells that can be used in a transplant.
Once it has been collected, it is taken to the Anthony Nolan Cell Therapy Centre where it is processed and stored for use in national, and international, hospitals.
Her Royal Highness with Dr. Susana G. Gomez, head of the Cord Blood Bank at Anthony Nolan
The centre also carries out world-class research in a bid to improve cord blood banking strategies and to develop new, life-saving treatments.
Simon Dyson MBE, Chairman of Anthony Nolan, said: “It was an honour to meet The Countess of Wessex and to show her around the Anthony Nolan Cell Therapy Centre.
“On behalf of all of us at Anthony Nolan, I would like to thank her for visiting us and for recognising the importance of the life-saving work by our staff at the centre and beyond.
“Cord blood is vital to the future of blood cancer treatment and I am sure Her Royal Highness’ visit will help to inspire us as we move into our fifth decade of saving lives.”
For more information about our cord blood programme, visit www.anthonynolan.org/cord