Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has hailed the ‘significant and magnificent’ support of the Jack Petchey Foundation, which has donated over £1,000,000 since 2011 in support of the charity’s lifesaving work.
Established in 1999, the Jack Petchey Foundation award grants to programmes and projects that benefit young people aged 11-25, and has been instrumental in helping Anthony Nolan deliver their Register & Be a Lifesaver programme (R&Be) in London and Essex.
R&Be trains volunteers to give inspirational presentations in schools and colleges to 16–18-year-olds, explaining how they could save a life through stem cell, blood and organ donation. After the presentations, young people have the chance to register as stem cell donors.
Young people, in particular young men, are the most likely to be chosen to donate their stem cells as they are less likely to have long-term health problems which might delay or prevent donation.
Young men currently make up only 15% of the Anthony Nolan stem cell register but provide more than half of all donations, so schemes such as this are instrumental in saving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.
Henny Braund, CEO at Anthony Nolan said: ‘The Jack Petchey Foundation has been a significant and magnificent supporter of Anthony Nolan for many years, and the impact of that support on our lifesaving work is simply immeasurable.
‘Our gratitude cannot be expressed enough to the Foundation for having donated over £1,000,000 towards helping us save the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders, and for helping to inspire the next generation of lifesavers to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register through the Register & Be a Lifesaver programme in London and Essex.’
Trudy Kilcullen, CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation said: ‘In a way it was a perfect match. We work with thousands of young people to inspire them to give back to society and Anthony Nolan needs new young donors to register and potentially save a life. There is no greater way to give back than being able to save another life. We are therefore proud of our partnership as it is literally lifesaving!’
20-year-old Airline Pilot and Londoner Nathan Raab signed up to the register after watching an R&Be presentation at East Barnet School and went on to donate his stem cells.
He said: ‘I signed up three years ago in March. There was a guy who came into our school and gave a really great presentation, and it didn’t even cross my mind not to sign up. To be honest, I thought I’d never be picked and it would be the sort of thing where I was on it for the rest of my life. Four or five weeks later, I got the call.
‘The presentation involved a few different stories about people who had needed a transplant, and the different processes of donation. It was all very clear, and it was a great presentation.’
He added: ‘I hadn’t even heard of Anthony Nolan before the talk.’
Nathan donated his stem cells in March 2014 at King’s College Hospital. He donated his stem cells through a simple outpatient procedure, similar to giving blood, and his recipient received the stem cells a few days later.
On joining the register, Nathan said: ‘It’s up to the person whether they want to sign up but I think if you’ve been blessed with a fit and healthy body, why not help someone?
‘If someone in your family needed help, you’d want someone to help them, so why not do the same thing for someone else? You just have to give up a little bit of your time and you can help someone. At the end of the day, we’re all human and we should help each other.’
21-year-old Pharmacology student, Elizabeth Tamayo, also joined the register after seeing an R&Be talk while she was at Watford Grammar School for Girls, and went on to donate in 2014.
She said: ‘I joined the register when I was about 17. A woman came into school when I was in sixth form and gave an assembly about Anthony Nolan. I joined up and within nine months I was called to tell me that I was a match for someone.
‘The assembly involved showing us a video with a couple of stories of people who’d needed a transplant. Then, there was an animated video which guided us through the whole process of donating. They answered some questions and gave us some things to read and forms if we wanted to join up.’
‘I was super excited to get called up. I remember I was about to go into a Zumba class when I got the call. I was absolutely chuffed when I found out and I was going crazy – I think the mate who I was with thought I was a mad cow.’
She added: ‘I’d say to someone thinking about joining the register that they definitely should go for it. It’s such a minor procedure in the end, even if it seems daunting at first. Being able to save someone’s life is such a big deal. It’s something I’ll always carry with me and something I’ll always be really proud of.’