During Volunteers Week, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is saying thank you to the volunteers who help power the charity’s lifesaving work.
Volunteers work across many areas of Anthony Nolan, helping the charity to save the lives of people with blood cancer who are in need of a stem cell transplant.
Forty-nine volunteer couriers travel around the world collecting donated stem cells and transporting them to patients waiting for a transplant in the UK. Last year, the couriers made 931 trips around the world.
Once a person donates stem cells, they have just 72 hours to get to the recipient. Anthony Nolan relies on a team of volunteers to take the stem cells where they need to go.
Fred Kavalier, one of Anthony Nolan’s volunteer couriers, said: ‘I volunteer with Anthony Nolan because I love the feeling that I am helping, if only in a small way, to give transplant recipients the possibility of being cured of their blood cancers.’
He added: ‘It's great being part of a big team of volunteer couriers. I'm a lucky man.’
Volunteers are also vital in helping to recruit new potential lifesavers to the stem cell register, in schools and universities across the UK.
Anthony Nolan’s pioneering education programme, known as the Hero Project, has visited more than 1000 schools to teach 16-18-year-olds about stem cell, blood and organ donation and is powered by volunteer speakers.
Marrow, the name given to Anthony Nolan’s student volunteer programme, operates in over 50 universities, and has resulted in over 100,000 people recruited to the Anthony Nolan register.
Daisy Sharett, who volunteers with Marrow at Bangor University in Wales, said: ‘I first got into Bangor Marrow because both of my parents were diagnosed with blood cancer, and I wanted to help in any way I could.
‘Currently, my Mum is too weak to have another stem cell transplant and is surviving on blood transfusions every couple of days. However, we hope that a suitable donor will be found and Mum’s health will improve. Who knows, maybe one of Marrow’s recruitment drives will find my Mum’s hero!’
Henny Braund, Chief Executive Officer at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘Our volunteers are the unsung heroes helping to cure blood cancer, and we want to say a huge thank you for all of their tireless work.
‘Without our fantastic volunteers, we simply wouldn’t be able give a second chance of life to those in desperate need of a transplant’.