In which The Author suggests a resolution to his readers
Things might have seemed fairly quiet on the Anthony Nolan Trust front since I first got behind the Shake4Mike Campaign back in the summer. However, I’m pleased to report that it’s far from the case.
To refresh your memories, Mike Brandon is a young man from Bristol who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. His doctors were trying to find a suitable tissue match for Mike, so that they could begin stem cell therapy. Mike’s fiancée Kate is related to my mother’s next-door neighbour, so I was roped in to help spread the word. The media at home and abroad got behind the appeal, to get as many new names as possible onto the stem cell register in the UK. A couple of months later I shared the good news I’d been given: a suitable donor had been found.
I’m pleased to report that Mike’s been responding well to treatment. It’s a terrific endorsement for the Anthony Nolan Trust, who sent out huge numbers of testing kits to potential donors as as a result of the Shake4Mike appeal. It’s also a testament to the power of social media to do worthwhile things, in the face of constant criticism from the technophobes.
I’m going to try and keep the momentum going if at all possible. I follow the Anthony Nolan page on Facebook, and every few weeks they bring us success stories like Mike’s, interviews with patients and donors, and news of people who, like Mike, stand to benefit from this cutting-edge treatment. So, here’s my suggestion for a New Year’s Resolution or two: I’d ask you to do the same, and ‘share’ the news updates as they come through.
Furthermore, if you fall within the eligibility criteria, please put yourself on the stem cell and/or bone marrow donor register. You can get more information via the Anthony Nolan Trust website. If you know any friends or family members who would be to eligible to join the register, please tell them about it as well. The testing process is completely painless, involving just a saliva sample. The doctors do the rest.
If you’re in university, why not organise a fund-raising event at which potential donors can pick up sampling kits? If you don’t want to go that far, just having a collection box on display can pay surprising dividends. We’ve had a box on the bar in my local pub since the summer; so far, it’s been emptied three times and a total of over £70 has raised by our regulars. It’s a quiet pub in the backstreets of Aberdare – just imagine what you could achieve in a Students’ Union with hundreds of people passing through every week!
The Anthony Nolan Trust is the one charity which I do support, because I’ve seen for myself just how important their work is. While you’re making your New Year’s Resolutions, could I ask you to make them your Good Cause to support throughout 2015 and beyond? It only takes a few minutes, and you could be the one person who can help save a complete stranger’s life. Isn’t that the best Xmas present which you could possibly give someone?