Heroic volunteer couriers have been battling snow and ice in a race against time to deliver potentially lifesaving stem cells to blood cancer patients, according to blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
Anthony Nolan matches individuals willing to donate their stem cells to patients with blood cancer or blood disorders who desperately need lifesaving transplants. The charity enlists the help of over 50 volunteers, who travel the UK and all over the world to collect stem cells from donors and deliver them to patients safely and promptly.
Last year, the volunteer couriers – Third Sector Magazine’s Volunteer Team of the Year – made 924 trips around the world.
Once a person donates their stem cells, the trained volunteers have just 72 hours to deliver them to the recipient. In times of adverse weather conditions, the couriers often must result to extreme measures to ensure that they arrive on time.
John Quigley faced a race against time after picking up stem cells from Europe and battling to deliver them on time to Glasgow.
John said: ‘As stem cell couriers, we sometimes face challenging conditions and circumstances when travelling to deliver lifesaving stem cells. Faced with the awful weather, I’m delighted that I was able to deliver the stem cells on time’
Lindsay Codsi also had to travel from Europe, and managed to get a space on a flight to Manchester. Once in Manchester, she had to get a taxi to Glasgow in order to be able to deliver the stem cells on time.
She said: “Being an Anthony Nolan volunteer courier often throws up unique challenges and experiences. Managing to deliver the stem cells on time in face of the horrendous snow was a moment of great relief and satisfaction”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive Officer at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘Our fantastic volunteer couriers are unsung heroes helping to give a second chance of life to those in desperate need.
‘The call can come at any time, come rain, shine or snow, and our couriers travel to all four corners of the world to bring life-saving stem cells, and hope, against all odds to ensure that patients receive the treatment they need’.
To find out more about Anthony Nolan’s lifesaving volunteer couriers, visit https://www.anthonynolan.org/volunteercouriers