Tag Archives: appeal

The Appliance of Science

In which The Author asks for your help again

My regular readers will already be very familiar with my involvement with Anthony Nolan, a terrific UK charity which helps people in need of treatment for various forms of blood cancer. If you’re new to the story, I’ll give you a brief recap.
Two years ago, a young man from Bristol named Mike Brandon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The poor bugger had only just got engaged to his girlfriend Kate, and then received this devastating blow a week or so later. Kate and Mike’s many friends, in association with Anthony Nolan, launched a social media blitz to encourage people to sign up for the tissue donor register. Using the hashtag #Shake4Mike, they spread the word via Facebook and Twitter, and highlighted the charity’s great work in supporting Mike and other people in similar circumstances.
To cut a long story short, Kate’s aunt lives next door to my mother. I got a phone call asking me if I’d spread the word – which I was only too pleased to do. Thanks to everyone else who got behind it as well, the campaign went viral, with mainstream media at home and abroad featuring Mike’s story. The number of people signing up for the tissue register went sky-high. Almost against the odds, we found a suitable match for Mike so that he could receive pioneering stem cell treatment. He was responding well, and he and Kate tied the knot last summer, as I reported soon afterwards.
I also contacted the charity directly and asked them to send me some collection boxes, which my friends in business across South Wales have been kind enough to host. Saturday’s trip to the Bridge in Ebbw Vale yielded a not unhealthy £12.00 (plus some shrapnel, which I added to one of the boxes nearer home on Monday), bringing my individual total to over £370.
Now for the bad news …
Mike has relapsed. He found out just before Easter that his cancer has returned, despite the best efforts of his doctors here in the UK.
The good news is that he seems to be a suitable patient for even more cutting-edge medicine in the USA, and this is where we need to ask for your help. As you can probably imagine, it’s not cheap. We need to raise a jaw-dropping £400,000 to fund his stay in the States while he’s undergoing treatment. Kate has launched a crowdfunding page to appeal for donations. It’s been running less than a week, and at the time of writing the total raised stands at over £88,000.
That’s why I’m writing this now. I know many of you got involved with #Shake4Mike as a direct result of reading my earlier entries about Mike and Kate. Now, though, we don’t want your saliva – we need your money instead. If you’d like to make a donation to the appeal, you can follow the link to the Donate4Mike page and chip in a few shillings. You can also follow the campaign’s progress on Facebook and Twitter by searching for Donate4Mike.
I’ve yet to meet Mike and Kate in the flesh, but I’ll address this last paragraph to them directly.
I take my hat off to you, Mike, for your endless courage and steadfast determination to conquer your illness. I salute you, Kate, for your unswaying love in the face of almost unimaginable circumstances. I hope one day to sit and raise an elbow with you, and thank you for your inspirational and awe-inspiring presence in our lives. I’ve got everything crossed for you both.

The Shake4Mike Appeal Needs Your Help!

In which The Author calls on your charitable spirit

I’m going to try and use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and all the other social networks for a very deserving cause. Please take a minute to read this through to the very end…
A young British man named Mike Brandon is being treated for a rare form of leukaemia, and his doctors are trying to find a suitable stem cell donor. Time is of the essence here, as Mike’s doctors are hoping to carry out treatment at the end of July. His story has already been featured in local and national newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph.
Through the superb UK charity the Anthony Nolan Trust, Mike’s fiancée Kate Robertson has organised an online campaign to help in the search. Kate is related to my mother’s next-door neighbour, which is why I’m so keen to spread the word about this campaign.
I’ll outline it briefly for you:
Do you remember the no-make-up selfie craze that swept Facebook a couple of months ago? The viral campaign that raised millions for cancer research? Yes, that one! Well, this is on similar lines.
You’re invited to ‘shake your face’ in a selfie, post it online, and then nominate a friend to do the same. If you have a look at the Shake4Mike Facebook page, you’ll see lots of photos of people who’ve already taken part.
This afternoon, the campaign descended on White Hart Lane to try and recruit potential donors. A crew from BBC’s news programme Points West were waiting to interview them; Mike’s story has already appeared in the national papers, and I’m trying to get a bit more impetus behind the campaign.
The maximum age for potential donors is thirty, which means that I’m well and truly over the hill. However, if you’re aged between sixteen and thirty, please go to the Anthony Nolan Trust website and you can see more information about registering.
The test itself is painless – all that’s required is a saliva sample. If you can take a moment to spit into a plastic bottle, that’s all you need to do. The doctors will do the rest.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter at @shake4mike, you can search the hashtag #shake4mike, or you can support them on Facebook. Even if you’re outside the target group (like me), please share this information far and wide so that as many people see it as possible. Please tell your family, friends, college pals, workmates, whoever else you can think of… A suitable donor must be out there somewhere – we’ve just got to put the word out.
Even if you can’t help directly with the search for a donor, there’s a JustGiving page which will help to raise funds for this vital research. Why not have a look at it. Even a pound will go a long way. (If you’re a UK taxpayer, don’t forget to fill in the Gift Aid section, which enables the Anthony Nolan Trust to reclaim an extra 25% from HMRC.)
If you read this, I’d be eternally grateful if you could click some (or all) of the sharing buttons at the bottom of the page. The more widely we can spread this, the better the chance we have of finding a suitable donor. The clock is ticking, so please don’t delay.
The media love to slag off Facebook, Twitter and the whole social networking phenomenon. Let’s show them that we can harness it for positive reasons, and maybe help to save this young man’s life.
Thanks a lot for reading this.