Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has unveiled a new strategy for Scotland with ambitions to increase the numbers of potential stem cell donors, raise more lifesaving funds and provide more support for patients.
Around ten per cent of the potential donors currently on Anthony Nolan’s register – an incredible 58,000 of a total of 617,000 – are from Scotland. The charity now wants to recruit 10,000 people from Scotland to the register each year from 2020, with at least 40 per cent of them young men, who are the group most likely to be chosen to donate. It is also aiming for more potential black, Asian and minority ethnic donors – at least six per cent – who are currently under-represented on the register.
Supporters in Scotland have already helped Anthony Nolan raise almost £1 million last year and there are plans to beat this impressive amount by ten per cent year on year from 2017/18. This funding will allow more donors to be recruited, and support Anthony Nolan’s pioneering research with the aim of saving and improving the lives of people who need a stem cell transplant.
The strategy, called ‘Saving Lives: Achieving More – Working Together in Scotland,’ was launched last night, 7 September. It has five main ambitions:
#1: To recruit more potential lifesavers to the register
#2: To support more Scottish patients
#3: To form stronger partnerships and maximise Anthony Nolan’s impact
#4: To increase awareness of the vital nature of Anthony Nolan’s work
#5: To raise funds
‘As we strive towards our aim of saving and improving the lives of everyone who needs a transplant, we want to celebrate the successes made possible by our passionate supporters in Scotland,’ says Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan.
‘This strategy sets out ambitions for our work in Scotland, and how our supporters here can help us realise it.
‘It also demonstrates out how we will be there for our lifesaving supporters, patients and families – however they might need us.’
Among the charity’s many supporters are Scottish Friends of Anthony Nolan, Marrow volunteers, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, volunteers at the Sheriff Court Tea Rooms, runners in the Edinburgh and Glasgow Marathons, and Police Scotland.
Many of them joined a reception in the Scottish Parliament on 7 September hosted by Bill Kidd, MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, last night to celebrate the achievements of some of the key partnerships which have helped saved lives in Scotland and beyond.
‘‘So far we’ve worked with some amazing groups and individuals, without whom none of this will be possible,’ says Henny Braund.
‘We were very keen to include our Scottish supporters in developing this strategy and their views have been overwhelmingly positive and helpful.’
Among those who have helped shape the strategy is Noreen Siddiqui from Glasgow, whose daughter Ayesha received a transplant in 2015.
‘At the worst time of my life, Anthony Nolan offered me something that no one else could – hope,’ says Noreen.
‘After everything, I think of Anthony Nolan as a friend for life, and I know the strategy for Scotland is only going to nurture and strengthen these lifelong bonds for families like mine. ‘
A ground-breaking partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over the last seven years has supported Anthony Nolan’s work in several ways, including recruiting 6,800 new donors with an amazing 19 of these going on to donate.
Ally Boyle from Hamilton initiated the partnership after he was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called myelodysplasia.
‘Volunteering at Anthony Nolan recruitment events and overseeing a lot of the work of our partnership is fantastic, as they are two organisations I care very deeply about.
‘I learnt at the fire service that when you work as a team, there is almost nothing that can’t be accomplished; for me, that sums up our lifesaving partnership.’
Anthony Nolan’s story began in 1974 when Shirley Nolan set up the world’s first register to find a bone marrow donor for her son Anthony. Over more than four decades, the charity has grown and evolved, conducting world-class research and introducing its first Patient Experience team to support families before and after a transplant.
The strategy outlines how Anthony Nolan will provide high-quality support for patients in Scotland, including employing an Anthony Nolan Specialist Nurse at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to help patients and their families throughout their post-transplant pathway.
‘Our dedicated supporters are the key to building on this strong platform of success in Scotland and we’re really looking forward to working with them on the next exciting stage of our journey,’ says Henny Braund.