Anthony Nolan is proud to have supported many families’ appeals to recruit more donors and raise lifesaving funds. Many people have shared their stories, helped raise incredible awareness and shown other patients that they’re not alone.
Marley, aged 6, was diagnosed with rare blood disorder, aplastic anaemia, earlier this summer. And he's now been told that he needs a bone marrow transplant.
Marley's mum, Shaney, says: 'To say it was a shock was an understatement. The only way I can describe is like someone dropping a grenade. And then you're left to pick up the rest of it. He's always been happy, healthy, never had a concern, and then this.'
Ava was just three years old when she received a stem cell transplant from a selfless stranger to treat her rare blood disorder. Ava’s Mum, Marie, says of her daughter’s donor, ‘I just cannot thank that person enough – I’ll be eternally grateful.’ Ava has now gone back to nursery school and has just got a puppy to celebrate her recovery.
And last year, little Ava was awarded the John Petchey Young Hero of the Year award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards (ANSAs) at the Houses of Parliament.
Ryan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) when he was just three years old and he and his family were set to move from their home in East Kilbride, to start a new life in Australia.
Ryan’s parents Paula and Stuart were told that he would need a stem cell transplant to save his life and so began the desperate search for a suitable donor.
Following a nationwide media appeal, an unprecedented number of donors – including an incredible 1,074 people in just one day – joined the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.
‘We have been completely overwhelmed by the support of not only family and friends, but complete strangers who are desperate to help Ryan and the many thousands of people who require a transplant.’
Inspired by the success of his donor appeal, Ryan was invited to appear in Anthony Nolan’s Sofa of Change fundraising campaign to encourage people to donate the estimated £42.9 million in spare change which is lost down sofas each year.
A huge thank you
Ryan found a matching donor and his transplant was a success – now the family have been able to fulfil their dream of moving to Australia.
Two years after a transplant, the patients like Ryan can sometimes be put in direct contact with their donor and in 2014, Ryan’s parents contacted Ryan’s donor, 36-year-old paediatrician Elke Tjarks from Germany, to thank him for giving Ryan a second chance of life.
Stuart, Ryan’s dad, said, ‘It was just incredible to be able to say thank you to the man who saved our son’s life – what an amazing person he is. The donor has children and is a doctor, so he can appreciate what we were going through.’
Ryan’s story has inspired thousands of people to join the stem cell register and the Ferguson family has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Anthony Nolan to help other people in need of a stem cell transplant.