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.