The family and friends of Hollie Clark, a Welsh girl who passed away in 2014 after a brave battle against a bone marrow disorder, have raised an astonishing £125,000 in her memory.
Hollie’s appeal for a stem cell donor, the last option to cure her myelodysplastic syndrome, went viral after her family used social media to recruit more people to the Anthony Nolan register. They posed for photos with pants on their heads, and the craze spread after Welsh football star Gareth Bale and rugby captain Sam Warburton joined in.
The family appealed for people to post their own photo and join the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register, which led to a 2,580% increase in register sign-ups.
Sadly Hollie passed away after complications from her own stem cell transplant – but her friends and family are determined to raise money and awareness for the register in her memory, to ensure that no-one else struggles to find a donor.
Since the start of their fundraising activities the fundraising team, who call themselves HelpHollie, have raised an incredible £125,000 – smashing their target of £100,000 earlier this year. As it costs £60 to add each new person to the donor register, the sum could pay for more than 2,000 new donors; for people with blood cancer, that’s 2,000 more chances at life.
Most recently the group recruited more than 100 runners to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in memory of Hollie. Calling themselves Hollie’s 100, the group ran more than 1,300 miles between them and raised approximately £25,000, which was added to the group’s total.
Stephen Clark, Hollie’s dad, said: ‘We are so very grateful to all our family and friends for raising such a phenomenal amount. We truly hope the money will help anyone suffering from blood cancer. Funding is vitally important, but, above all, please ask yourself the question: are you signed up as a potential stem cell donor? If you are aged 16-55 years of age, you could and should be a donor.’
Kirsty Low, Head of Events at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘HelpHollie have raised a huge amount of money to help Anthony Nolan recruit more people to the donor register and save the lives of people with blood cancer. We are so grateful to them and all the runners from Hollie’s 100 for their amazing achievement.’