Andy has recently put his hand up to become a volunteer for Anthony Nolan.
Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between patients in need and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells.
Their education programme teaches 16–18-year-olds about the importance of donating stem cells, blood, and organs.
As a volunteer presenter, Andy will facilitate inspirational sessions explaining how young people could save a life. After the presentations, young people have the chance to register as donors.
Andy’s story: After joining the Anthony Nolan stem cell register in 2008 Andy came up as a match in December 2019. The odds of being a match are quite small – 1 in 800 they reckon – and should you be identified as a match, 90% of cases take stem cells via a very simple process called PBSC donation (Peripheral Blood Stem Cells) – basically you’re hooked up to a machine for 4 hours with blood coming out of one arm which then goes back into the other arm. The stem cells are harvested in the middle. In 10% of cases, the stem cells need to be extracted from your bone marrow. This is what Andy did. A night in the hospital, a fetching gown and a general anaesthetic were required. A day later, Andy was back from the hospital and was at the Christmas party – handing out our end-of-year awards and drinking G&Ts.
The lucky (anonymous) recipient of his donation has been doing great and counts herself as one of the survivors and proof that the system works.
‘Join the register is what I would say. Anthony Nolan is brilliant at every step of the journey and their literally life-saving work is a big deal for lots of people really in need. For someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder, a stem cell transplant from a matching donor could be their last chance of survival. Being a donor for me was one of the best things I have ever done. Getting more involved to help spread the word is the least I can be doing now.’