10 Years of Fundraising for National Charity Saving Lives Through Stem Cells

Scothern local, Julie Cook, started Lincoln Friends of Anthony Nolan back in 2014. With the intention of raising funds and awareness of the national charity who give children and adults life-saving stem cell transplants, this was her way of giving back after her granddaughter had such a transplant aged four.

Every 14 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer. A stem cell transplant from a stranger could be their only hope.

“Annabel suddenly just wasn’t well” Julie recalls. “She had a sort of virus that she couldn’t shake off, and within a short space of time she had some blood tests, and it was found she had a rare type of blood cancer that only children get. They found a donor quite quickly for Annabel – because it was quite urgent, they couldn’t find a living donor or any of the registers, but they found some stem cells donated by a lady when she gave birth.”

“I didn’t know this before, but in some hospitals instead of throwing the umbilical cord away, they can actually freeze the cells in it, and they can be used either for research or transplant and the benefit of that is they are ready to use straight away!”

In 2014 Annabel was doing well after a few years since her transplant, so Julie decided it was time to help others going through similar situations. There are friends of Anthony Nolan groups up and down the country, mainly ran by those who have a connection to the charity or have experienced a stem cell transplant themselves. “The groups do as little or as much as they want, and it’s not just about the fundraising” Julie explains, “it is about encouraging people to go onto the register and raise awareness.”

Over the years the group have organised a variety of events, ranging from stalls at school fairs and supermarket collections, all the way to grand charity balls.

Since the beginning of the group, their annual coffee morning has been a staple event in the calendar, and this year’s event took place on Saturday 16th March at Scothern Village Hall. “It was a lovely morning! A nice turn out as usual and we are so lucky that we always get people making cakes and offering to help on the day. Donations are still coming in, but it looks like we will likely make a profit of close to £400!”

Annabel is now 17 years old and has recently achieved top grades at GCSE’s. Anthony Nolan have the goal of ensuring everyone gets a happy outcome just like Annabel. Every year, over 2,300 patients start their search for a matching stem cell donor. Your stem cells, and yours alone, could be the ones that save their life – and it all starts with a swab.

To find out more about Lincoln Friends of Anthony Nolan, you can email Julie at andersjulie@hotmail.com. To find out more about stem cell transplants and how to register, visit www.anthonynolan.org