A three-year-old from Albury, Hertfordshire, has become the face of a new campaign from blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan – after battling back to health after two stem cell transplants.
In October 2015 Hazel was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (JMML), a very rare, acute form of leukaemia. Hazel’s only chance of a cure was a stem cell transplant which involved eradicating Hazel’s diseased cells with chemotherapy and replacing them with cells from a stranger, found by Anthony Nolan.
Almost two years and two stem cell transplants later, Hazel, who recently started pre-school, and her parents, Alice and Paddy Richardson, are supporting Anthony Nolan’s new brand and fundraising campaign. #SecondChance has been designed to raise awareness of the charity’s work and generate funds to support its lifesaving cause.
As the only UK charity which finds and matches donors, of the correct tissue types, with patients who need stem cell transplants, Anthony Nolan cures blood cancer: giving patients a second chance of life. Mum of three Alice, says:
“Hazy’s transplants truly have given her, and us all, a second chance in life. Anthony Nolan was able to find two donors for Hazy and the fact that she is here and recovering well from all the treatment blows our minds.”
Hazel was isolated in Great Ormond Street Hospital for three months for her first transplant while Alice and Paddy took alternating shifts to also look after their other children at home. She relapsed, which meant her JMML returned, so Anthony Nolan searched for a second donor which meant the transplant process at Great Ormond Street Hospital began again.
“Every day we look at Hazy as she continues to go from strength to strength, which we pray continues, and it’s a privilege to be in the presence of a walking miracle,” says Alice. “Paddy and I talk about the second chance we’ve all been given – seeing Hazy laugh hysterically, to eating a whole plate of roast chicken, to hugging her brother and sister every morning when she wakes up.
“We used to dream of days and moments like these and, now we’re living them, it feels so amazing! We’ve never lost hope: there has always been a glimmer thanks to Anthony Nolan.”
Richard Davidson, Director of Engagement at Anthony Nolan says: “Our #SecondChance campaign celebrates cherished moments which come after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. In Hazel’s case, enjoying an ice cream in her back garden; her first day at pre-school or, indeed, getting the gloves on and helping out in the garden.
“This campaign also, vitally, demonstrates what Anthony Nolan does. Research shows that our prompted awareness amongst the general public is good; however people don’t always know we are a charity and, as such rely on voluntary income. We hope that by sharing patients’ second chances we’ll be able to galvanise support which will, in turn, help us to be there for the 2,000 people who will need a transplant from a stranger over the next year.”
Alice adds: “Thanks to Anthony Nolan, and the second chance Hazel has been given, we’re looking forward to an even brighter future.”
Anthony Nolan’s #SecondChance campaign will run for two weeks across underground lift and escalator panels and tube carriages. It will be supplemented with digital marketing and an organic campaign, during which people who have had stem cell transplants will be encouraged to share their second chance using the campaign hashtag.
To find out more about the campaign, visit www.anthonynolan.org/secondchance