Tag Archives: stem cell research

Good News For a Change

In which The Author could be tempted to believe in miracles

If you’ve read this blog, chanced upon my Facebook, or encountered my Twitter feed at any point during the past week and a half, then you’ll already be aware of the Shake4Mike campaign.
Mike Brandon, a young man from Bristol, is suffering from leukaemia. In conjunction with the fantastic UK charity the Anthony Nolan Trust, Mike’s family, his fianceé Kate’s family, and his many friends across the country were trying to find a stem cell donor.
Kate’s aunt lives near my mother, so I was drafted in to help spread the word. I went into more detail in The Shake4Mike Appeal Needs Your Help! last week, to try and get the ball rolling. It’s a one in a thousand chance that someone will have compatible tissue, so we were facing an uphill struggle. I’ve spent much of the last ten days badgering people to take a shaky selfie and share it via social media, to try and encourage more volunteers to submit a saliva sample and join the stem cell donor register.
I’ve just had a phone call from Kate’s aunt with some incredible news: a donor has been found.
As regular readers know, I keep an open mind on the existence of a Generator of Organic Diversity – but in recent years I’ve had a number of experiences which have caused me to wonder about the deep structure of the Universe. In my opinion, this weekend’s news is little short of miraculous.
Mike isn’t out of the woods by a long way, mind you. He’s got to endure more chemotherapy before the doctors can begin his treatment in earnest, and then another bout of chemotherapy afterwards.
But this weekend’s news proves that the stem cell register has the potential make the difference between life and death. We all take giving blood for granted, and I daresay many of us carry organ donor cards. In scientific terms, they’re old school. Stem cell therapy could become the equivalent of these techniques for the Third Millennium.
I’d strongly urge you to try and keep the momentum going now. If you’re aged between sixteen and thirty, resident in the UK, and can sail through the online health questionnaire, then please register for a testing kit via the Anthony Nolan Trust website. All that’s required is a saliva sample. It couldn’t be any quicker, easier or pain-free than that!
In the meantime, the Shake4Mike campaign will continue, in order to raise awareness of the stem cell register. If you haven’t already taken a Shaky Selfie and shared it online, why not do it after you’ve read this? Like registering, it takes just a couple of minutes and could help to find the next donor for someone like Mike.
Finally, if you can spare some cash to fund the trust’s incredible work, you can donate at their website. Why not organise your own event to spread the word and help to pay for their continued work? Please don’t let this head of steam fizzle out now.
On behalf of Mike’s family and Kate’s family, thanks for reading this!

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

In which The Author gives you a quick sitrep

Since I told you about Mike Brandon and the Shake4Mike appeal last time (see The Shake4Mike Appeal Needs Your Help!) things have been moving very quickly.
The Anthony Nolan Trust announced earlier today that registration of potential stem cell donors has gone up by a mighty 650% in a week. Last night, the campaign’s Facebook page had a photo of extra volunteers who’d been drafted in to help post out the sampling kits. However, only one person in a thousand will be compatible with someone needing treatment. It’s important that as many people register their details as is humanly possible.
With this in mind, I’d ask you (again) to share this campaign far and wide. You can use the hashtag #Shake4Mike in your Tweets; you can like and share the Facebook page; and you can join in the Shake4Mike fun yourself, like I did this afternoon:

It’s as easy as that: shake your face, take a photo, add the hashtag, and upload it to whatever social media you use. Then nominate your friends to do the same. Simple!
Most importantly, if you’re aged between sixteen and thirty, then please join the tissue register! You simply have to supply a saliva sample and the doctors will do the rest. With only one compatible person in a thousand, the chances of finding a match increase greatly as more people join the register. Even if you’re outside the target age group, tell your relatives, your friends and your work colleagues please about the campaign. Spread the word through your local schools and colleges, if you’ve got any contacts there. If you know anyone in the public eye, then why not try and get them on board?
Time is of the essence here, so please don’t hang around. The No Makeup Selfie went viral a couple of months ago, and raised millions for cancer research. This campaign doesn’t even want your money (although the Trust welcomes donations, of course.) It just wants your time and your saliva. Who can’t spare a little of each? Let’s put the power of social media to good effect, and try and change the world one click at a time!