A-list actors Tom Holland and Rose Leslie join the stars of TOWIE, Made in Chelsea and EastEnders to make spit look stylish, in stunning new images for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan
Hollywood actors, fashion designers, models, pop stars and TV darlings have come together to prove that saving a life is as simple as ‘giving a spit’.
Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie and newly announced Spider-Man actor Tom Holland are among a host of stars who have posed in designer #IGiveASpit t-shirts to raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register.
Fashion designer Ashish designed the exclusive t-shirt for Anthony Nolan, which carries the slogan #IGiveASpit, highlighting that joining the Anthony Nolan register of potential stem cell donors simply involves spitting into a tube – and caring enough to do it
To find out more and take part visit www.anthonynolan.org/igiveaspit
Celebrities including Rose Leslie, who played Ygritte in Game of Thrones, TOWIE star Bobby Norris, Made in Chelsea favourite Stevie Johnson, Blue singers Lee Ryan and Antony Costa, former Neon Jungle singer Amira McCarthy and EastEnders actress Kellie Shirley were invited to customise an #IGiveASpit t-shirt before posing for stunning images.
Many of the images were shot by renowned fashion photographer Jez Tozer in his Hackney studio, while other celebrities posted selfies today in their personalised t-shirts, including Charlotte Crosby of Geordie Shore, X Factor finalist Fleur East, Jamal Edwards of SBTV as well as Tom Holland, who was announced last month as the new Spider-Man in the upcoming Marvel films.
British actor Tom, 19, who has also starred alongside Ewan McGregor in The Impossible and with Damian Lewis in Wolf Hall, said: “Like most other teenagers, I grew up watching superhero movies and wishing I had secret powers. Then I found out that we all do have something superhuman inside us that could save a life: our stem cells.
“It sounds weird but anyone can rescue a stranger in their hour of need, and you don’t need to jump off a building – you just need to spit and, if you’re lucky, donate some cells from your blood.”
Tasked with modelling the Ashish-designed #IGiveASpit t-shirt, celebrities styled it out with spraypaint, peepholes, glitter and even got the scissors out to put their own stamp on their garment.
The stylish photos have been released by Anthony Nolan today to launch the #IGiveASpit campaign and urge more young donors to join the register.
For people with blood cancer and other blood disorders, a stem cell transplant is often their last chance of survival. Anthony Nolan matches selfless people willing to donate their stem cells with people in desperate need of a transplant.
And it’s not just celebrities. Everyone from influential fashion bloggers to blood cancer survivors have been proving they ‘give a spit’ by posing in their bespoke t-shirts.
Photographer Jez Tozer said: ‘It's been such a joy being involved with the Anthony Nolan #IGiveASpit campaign. It's not often I get the opportunity to help a cause like this with such passionate people involved and it was great to shoot such a diverse group of models, musicians, actresses and celebrities who were all so generous with their time. Thanks everyone and thank you Anthony Nolan.’
You can also customise your own #IGiveASpit t-shirt at the live design and print boutique YR STORE at Topman, Oxford Circus. Each t-shirt costs £24 and 10% of the proceeds go to Anthony Nolan.
Alternatively you can buy one of the limited edition Ashish t-shirts at the Anthony Nolan eBay store. If you are 16-30, you can join the Anthony Nolan register online at www.anthonynolan.org.
ROSE LESLIE - Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, The Great Fire
Image: Jez Tozer
‘One of my closest childhood friends, Millie, was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 19. At the time, Millie campaigned to get more people onto the Anthony Nolan register and I remember feeling so humbled by her bravery and selflessness.
‘She had a stem cell transplant using the best possible match on the register at the time, but it wasn’t the ‘perfect’ match and she sadly relapsed and died a few months later.
‘If there were more young people on the Anthony Nolan register ten years ago, my friend might have found a closer match and might still be here today. So, even if just one person signs up because of the #IGiveASpit campaign, they could be the difference between life and death for someone like Millie.’
TOM HOLLAND – Spider-Man (2017), The Impossible, Wolf Hall, Locke, How I Live Now
Image: Nikki Holland
‘Like most other teenagers, I grew up watching superhero movies and wishing I had secret powers. Then I found out that we all do have something superhuman inside us that could save a life: our stem cells.
‘It sounds weird but anyone can rescue a stranger in their hour of need, and you don’t need to jump off a building – you just need to spit and, if you’re lucky, donate some cells from your blood.
‘I joined the Anthony Nolan stem cell register as soon as I turned sixteen, by spitting into a tube. I even captured the slightly undignified moment on YouTube in a bid to get other young people to do the same.
‘So far I’ve never had that call to say I’m a match for someone, but if I did, I’d consider it to be the greatest privilege of my life.’
Explaining the inspiration behind his t-shirt design, Tom said: ‘I just wanted to show the hope and the happiness that someone must feel when they hear the news that they have a donor who is willing to save their life.’
BOBBY COLE NORRIS - The Only Way is Essex
Image: Jez Tozer
‘This August marks a year since my mum was told her only hope of survival was a stem cell transplant. I felt helpless and terrified, but then something amazing happened; TOWIE fans showed they cared.
‘They signed up to the Anthony Nolan register in their thousands and proved they are the most caring fans in the world. Any one of them would have been willing to save my mum or another person like her – basically, they ‘gave a spit’. It was amazing to see something so positive come from something so terrible.
‘In February, mum finally found a match and the transplant went ahead. It’s a long road to recovery but day by day, she’s getting stronger. I can’t wait to take her on the holiday of a lifetime when she’s well enough.
‘Somewhere out there, there’s a person who gave my mum a second chance of life. I hope one day I’ll be able to meet that person, but I don’t know what I’d say – thank you isn’t enough.
‘I always describe mum’s donor as an angel walking this earth. That’s why I’ve spray-painted angel wings onto my #IGiveASpit t-shirt, and why I’ll support Anthony Nolan for the rest of my life. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a year, and this is my way of celebrating all the positives that have come out of it and saying thank you to our guardian angel.’
STEVIE JOHNSON – Made in Chelsea
Image: Danny Peace
‘A couple of years ago, I spat into a tube and became the half millionth person to join the Anthony Nolan register. I met an amazing leukaemia survivor at the time called Rebecca, and it hit me that she wouldn’t be here if someone else out there hadn’t made the same decision to ‘give a spit’.
‘Half a million sounds like a lot of potential donors, but it isn’t enough – some people never find even one match, out of all the worldwide registers combined, just because that one person never signed up. A real issue is that guys my age are being massively outnumbered on the register, but we’re by far the most likely to save a life.
‘I don’t think it’s that men don’t care. I know a lot of guys might see this and think ‘that sounds like a worthwhile thing to do’ and have the intention to do it, one day – but in the end, what it counts is that you actually sign up. Do it today. There are thousands of people out there who don’t have time to wait.’
ANTONY COSTA AND LEE RYAN – Blue
Images: Danny Peace
Lee Ryan explained the motivation behind Blue’s involvement: ‘This cause became close to our hearts as a Blue fan called Malcolm needed to find a stem cell donor to save his life. We’d met him backstage at a Blue concert a couple of years ago and he is an absolutely top bloke. We were so sorry to hear that he’d got so unwell and that he was struggling to find a match.
‘I went to see him in hospital while he was waiting for a donor, and we had a good laugh - it was clear that he’s someone who loves life and has brilliant mates around him.
‘We thought, the least we can do is try and spread the word about how easy and important it is to sign up and save a life, just by giving a spit.
‘Amazingly, the Anthony Nolan charity has now found Malcolm a donor and we couldn’t be happier for him. We hope that the #IGiveASpit campaign for Anthony Nolan means that lots more people get the same great news.’
KELLIE SHIRLEY – EastEnders, One Man Two Guvnors
Image: Jez Tozer
‘I was eight months pregnant with twins when I had my photo taken by the brilliant Jez Tozer in Anthony Nolan’s #IGiveASpit t-shirt. I cut a peephole in the t-shirt so you could see a peek of my bump - I absolutely love this photo - it reminds me that by donating your stem cells or your cord blood at birth, you are literally giving someone the gift of life!'
AMIRA MCCARTHY – Singer
Image: Jez Tozer
LAST NIGHT IN PARIS – hip-hop collective
Last Night in Paris. Image: Jez Tozer
TATI COTLIAR – International model and stylist
Image: Jez Tozer
‘My #IGiveASpit t-shirt design is all about celebrating individuality. I played around with colour and paint, and wore my headpiece by Luke Brooks. I love that each t-shirt starts as a bold, blank canvas which every person interprets differently and creates something unique and personal from.
‘It’s the perfect way to highlight how you can save a life, just by being you. It’s almost a romantic concept to think that your particular combination of DNA could be a perfect match for someone else, and you could even be the only person in the world who could cure them from blood cancer. But if you don’t sign up to the Anthony Nolan donor register, you’ll never know if you could have saved a life and changed someone’s destiny.’
THE IRELAND SISTERS (‘Give Our Dad a Bone; Marrow Transplant’)
The Ireland sisters’ viral campaign to save their dad’s life by getting people to join the bone marrow register has attracted global media attention and a Facebook following of over 45,000 people. Many friends and strangers have been tweeting selfies with their Anthony Nolan spit kits, with the hashtags #SpitAndSave and #GiveOurDadABone. The search is still on for a donor for Rob Ireland.
Sophie, Emma and Georgie Ireland. Image: Jez Tozer
Georgie said: ‘Dad’s always lived his life by turning negatives into positives and making people smile – he’s drilled it into us ever since we were little, and it seems his persistent use of the words ‘positivity’ and ‘initiative’ have actually rubbed off over the years! We all felt helpless at first but then we realised how simple it is to save a life by joining the Anthony Nolan register and we thought, wow, there’s something we can actually do to help.
‘We set up the page to try and help Dad and others in the same position, but we never expected this level of support – we’ve had messages from friends all over the world who have joined their country’s register. Dad had no clue we'd set this up and we only showed him the page after thousands of people had started following it - he was literally blown away.’