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Race Against Blood Cancer trio take on the New York Marathon

On Sunday 5th November, Joe Bates, Andrew Pugh and John Fawcett took on the most famous marathon in the world – the New York Marathon.

For Andrew and John, the prospect of navigating the 26.2 mile course was a little less daunting as two marathon veterans. For Joe, who has been an integral member of the charity since its inception in 2015, he was attempting to complete the feat for the first time.

The trio got off to an early start, meeting at the New York Public Library at 5.45am to embark on an unusually long 3 hour coach journey to the start line in Staten Island. After a rousing rendition of Star Spangled Banner they were off.

The weather on the day was forgettable, although the cloudy skies and intermittent rain wasn’t enough to deter the 52,000 runners and over 1 million spectators lining the streets, along with live bands and DJ’s adding to an incredible carnival like atmosphere.

A huge thanks to the support team who cheered the guys along with notably mentions to Tom Sheppard who travelled over from England and Lucy Baumgartner who provided support both on the day and throughout.

All three runners performed admirably on the day, with a special call out to Andrew Pugh who broke his personal best time on a notoriously hilly course by crossing the finishing line at 3 hours and 29 minutes. Great job Andrew!

Most importantly the team raised over £6,000 which will prove to be invaluable in helping us to continue to raise awareness of the lack of diversity of those signed up to stem cell donor register and carry out donor drives in both the UK and US.

The whole event has been such a great success that we’ve applied for 5 spaces for the 2018 event. Fingers crossed that our application is successful and if you are interested in running on behalf of the charity and raising funds please get in touch with Joe: joe.bates@raceagainstbloodcancer.com

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Google tops off a successful May for the Community Engagement Team

May was a busy month for the Community Engagement team in London with various donor drives including one at Flagz Carnival in Croydon and at Soul’d Out in Central London.

The busy month was topped off with a drive at Google’s Tottenham Court Road offices on 30th May. Despite being during half term, Alex and his team managed to register 100 new potential donors.

With only 20 registrations by 1PM, the team took fate in their hands and went desk to desk. They were overwhelmed with the willingness and interest of Googlers to help the cause and have already arranged a second donor drive in the same location at the end of August!

Race Against Blood Cancer would like to give a special thanks to Sam Smith for organising the drive, Googlers for their interest in the cause and to Alex Kiffin who volunteered at all Race Against Blood Cancer drives in May.

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Team at Flagz Carnival

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If you would like to organise a donor drive or volunteer for us, please contact us at donordrives@raceagainstbloodcancer.com


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Race Against Blood Cancer leads the #Match4Khaleel patient appeal

Race Against Blood Cancer is spear heading the rare mixed race bone marrow patient appeal for Khaleel Khan, a young schoolboy who is suffering from leukaemia.

Khaleel, a 12-year-old boy from Telford, West Midlands, is currently undergoing treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and desperately needs a transplant next month. His mixed English and Pakistani heritage is sadly leaving him with a very slim chance of finding a donor match.

This isn’t the first time that Khaleel has to deal with adversity though, as he overcame a number of illnesses as a baby including having a shunt fitted on his brain to relieve water and meningitis, all of which he recovered from. His mum Kelly, 31, is now urging everyone who has not yet signed up to the register to do so. As she told the press “Khaleel is now on week six of the relapse treatment and will need a bone marrow transplant in February.”

khaleel in hospital        Khaleel Family

Initial signs appeared in June 2014 as he started losing his appetite and his glands began swelling on his neck. Thinking it was a throat infection as other kids had had it too, doctors at Shropdoc prescribed him with antibiotics. A few days in, he still wasn’t feeling better.

“On July 6 he was complaining of leg pain, but thankfully he was still under the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital as he had yearly checks on his shunt. We phoned them and asked if we could bring him to them and they agreed so we took him to their A&E department.”

“He was seen almost immediately and they did the usual checks including a blood test. They knew what they were looking at but needed to confirm it.”

Two hours later, the blood test results were back and confirmed what the doctors feared –  leukaemia. Khaleel immediately started chemotherapy and missed the whole of year five at primary school due to illness. The treatment went well though and he returned to being a young lively boy again a year later as he returned to school. He started secondary school in September 2016 and his family was looking forward to him finishing treatment in November 2017.

Sadly, Khaleel was readmitted to Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital in November last year with a slight temperature, and after a few tests, it appeared that the leukaemia had come back.  “This is going to be a long journey for Khaleel, maybe six months or more. We just don’t know”

Dr. Sarah Lawson, Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s clinical lead for stem cell transplant said: “Stem cell and bone marrow transplants form a crucial part of treatment for a number of blood cancers.

“We know that the chances of finding matching donors for our children and young people from minority ethnic or mixed race backgrounds are under 20 per cent because of a much smaller pool of potential matches.” She continues, “it’s really important that there’s a diverse range of people who are registered to donate some of their blood stem cells and bone marrow.” She added: “Testing is easy and involves a simple mouth swab or people can sign up when they are giving a blood donation, but it could potentially save a life.”

The Race Against Blood Cancer team plans to run several donor drives in the coming weeks to help find a potential lifesaving donor match for Khaleel. If you have not yet signed up to the stem cell and bone marrow register and would like to do so online, you can sign up here.

Source: www.shropshirestar.com/news/health/2017/01/16/mixed-race-bone-marrow-donor-appeal-for-telford-boy-khaleel-121132737


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Celebrating a year’s milestones with our Annual Golf Tournament & Gala Dinner

Friday 23rd September marked the 2nd annual Race Against Blood Cancer Golf Tournament and Gala Dinner, which was again hosted at the Shropshire Golf Centre.

Celebrating the amazing milestones achieved over the last year, the day started off in the sun with 16 golf teams competing. The tournament even saw football stars Stephen Hunt, former Reading and Republic of Ireland midfielder and Peter Odemwingie, former West Bromwich and Nigeria forward, participate in the event. Once the final scores were counted, it was Lee Sandell and his team who was awarded the trophy despite a close score.

A team on the golf course for Race Against Blood Cancer Student talking about his summer supporting Race Against Blood Cancer

Three golf players assessing their game Two supporters at our 2nd Annual Gala Dinner

Girl smiling during Race Against Blood Cancer presentation Golf players at our Annual Charity Golf Tournament

 As sun started to set, the 160 Gala Dinner attendees were guided to the evening venue, beautifully decorated in white and red. Joining the celebrations were 6 nominated students from the National Citizen Service programme. After attending a workshop that the charity carried out, the students dedicated their summers to raising awareness for the charity and £450 in funds. As one of the highlight speakers of the night they left the stage to a huge round of applause.

Fundraising for the evening is still in progress with some prizes being auctioned on eBay. Items include a shirt worn by Joe Hart and signed by the whole England squad from the recent world cup qualifier against Slovakia, Sam Allardyce’s one and only match as England manager. Other prizes comprise of a framed pair of signed Joe Hart gloves and Phil Jones’ Community Shield shirt signed by the Manchester United squad including superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Race Against Blood Cancer’s 2016 Annual Golf Tournament and Gala dinner was a great success and we would like to give massive thank you to Matthew Lea Golf Academy for organising the Golf event, The Shropshire Golf Centre for hosting, our friends, family and supporters who joined us and finally, Skratch AV for providing their exemplary service and providing a world class multimedia solution.


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Swim, ride, run – The team smashed it all!

On weekend of 6th August, a team of 18 committed triathletes completed the AJ Bell London Triathlon for Race Against Blood Cancer to raise money for the charity and its ongoing efforts to help save lives.

Known to be the world’s largest triathlon attracting over 13,000 participants and 30,000 spectators, the AJ Bell Triathlon never disappoints. And 2016 was no exception.

With most of the team completing a triathlon for the first time, nerves were high as the London sun started to rise and heat started to soar. But team Race Against Blood Cancer stayed strong!

Offering many different formats and distances, team Race Against Blood Cancer saw various waves of fundraisers depart throughout the day. Despite the heat, everyone dug deep, remained hydrated and completed the respective events and disciplines in a great time, with a smile on their faces, and pride in their hearts.

Race Against Blood Cancer is immensely proud of the great team effort that went into this event. Despite the hard work, sweat and tears, the team managed to raise over £6,000 to help give every blood cancer patient an equal chance of finding a suitable match.

Thank you to all those taking part in the event as well as the spectators who went to cheer the team on. You were all amazing!

We look forward to being back next year. If you would like to get involved for the 2017 event, please get in touch with ben.westwood@raceagainstbloodcancer.com. Our 18 triathletes were exemplary, let’s aim for a team of 40 for 2017!

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Making our mark at the Caribbean Culture Festival

Colourful. Fun. Informative. Educational. And Positive – these are the adjectives that describe the Carribbean Culture Festival that Race Against Blood Cancer attended on 3rd July.

 

Thanks to a few connections and good words on the work that we have done so far, we were kindly invited to join the celebrations at Millennium Hotel on Gloucester Road and run a donor drive as part of the Match4Tommy campaign.

 

The drive was a roaring success and allowed us to go home fuelled with smiles, love and energy as we managed to sign up 70 new donors to the register, what more with no prior advertising. But thanks to the captive audience, brilliant event organisers and the microphone that we were given to go on stage and talk about our work, our vision and why signing up was so important, we were able to win everyone’s hearts.

 

As a family friendly environment, a number of people came up to us and mentioned how they felt the Match4Tommy appeal was so important and that it was one of the contributing factors as to why they signed up.

 

As part of the event, Race Against Blood Cancer was surrounded by great performances, brilliant food and amazing people.

 

We can’t wait to take part in the event again next year and would like to say a massive thank you to Natasha, Eon and everyone else who helped make the day possible and supported us throughout.

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Ram John Holder & Alex Morrison at the Guyana festival

Running across the country for May Bank Holiday

The May Bank holiday weekend was a crazy time for our engagement team as they completed two donor drives within 24 hours and 155 mi apart!

The marathon started on Sunday evening as the team headed to Myyst nightclub in Birmingham to join eager clubbers to raise awareness of the charity.

In our white t-shirts amidst the dressed up crowds, our team definitely stood out! Response was really great though as clubbers happily interacted with us, despite having been queuing in the cold for ages. They also managed to register just under 50 new donors, the majority of which from ethnic backgrounds, making it a very successful event.

The team wrapped up just before 2 AM and drove back down to London for a few hours’ sleep but were back up and running before they knew it as they headed to the Guyana Folk Festival in Croydon.

The tiredness quickly subsided as the music and carnival feel took over and the team started interacting with the festive crowds. With live music, performance, awards, extremely good food and various stalls, it was a great event to celebrate life and get people to sign up as new potential donors. After a brief speech on stage, Alex even ran into Ram John Holder, Porkpie from Desmond’s, backstage which confirmed that it was a great day.

This was a last minute drive and the response we got was great. While dancing and festivities made it hard to register many donors, we did manage to get 26 new registers.  The team will also be back for the Guyanese tea party in July where, now that we are known, we expect to see great engagement and a lot more fun to come!

Alex Morrison & Ram John Holder at the Guyana Festival
Alex Morrison & Ram John Holder at the Guyana Festival
Singers and dancing at the Guyana Festival
Singers and dancing at the Guyana Festival
Presentations, speakers and animation at the Guyana Festival
Presentations, speakers and animation at the Guyana Festival
Music entertained the crowds at the festival
Music entertained the crowds at the festival

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Promoting #Match4Tommy Campaign at Kids Fest, Shrewsbury

Another busy weekend is lined up for us as we will be heading to Kids Fest in Shrewsbury on 23rd/24th April.

It will be a very busy weekend for our Race Against Blood Cancer engagement team who will be at Shropshire Kids Fest on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April. With entertainment for kids of all ages, it will be a great opportunity for us to raise awareness for the #Match4Tommy campaign which started when 4 year old Tommy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January this year.

Race Against Blood Cancer at Kids Fest

Crowds of over 10,000 people, including children of all ages, are expected over the course of the two day event with many activities to keep the kids busy while the parents and teenagers from ages of 16+ take 5 minutes to sign up as new stem cell and bone marrow donors.

We are still looking for volunteers to join the team, if you are free and would like to help spread the word and have fun, please reach out to ben.westwood@raceagainstbloodcancer.com

You can also help us by spreading the word and posting within your networks. As a recent registrant told us at one of our latest events – “I registered after seeing the RABC posts. Even though I had researched stem cell and cord blood when pregnant I had no idea becoming a donor and finding a match could be done through a simple cheek swab.”

Follow us on social media and stay tuned for news, photos and updates throughout the event!

For ticket information and further details on the event, please visit http://www.shropshirekidsfest.co.uk/


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Race Against Blood Cancer hosts its first student donor registration drive at London Metropolitan University

Thursday 1st October saw the Race Against Blood Cancer team host its first student donor registration drive at London Metropolitan University, as part of its Freshers Week celebrations.

This was the first of a number of university drives that are being held up and down the country over the next few months. On the day the Race Against Blood Cancer team were set up amongst the various societies and other companies in attendance. The drive itself was a big success with 48 new stem cell donors being registered, with many others joining the mailing list and expressing an interest in volunteering at similar drives in the future and hosting their own fundraising events.

Next week the team heads to Wolverhampton University for another student drive, before returning to London Metropolitan University to take part in an event that celebrates Black History month.

A massive thank you to all of those who came down on the day and also to Beverley Rizzotto and the London Metropolitan University for making this happen.

Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University

Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University Race Against Blood Cancer at London Metropolitan University


Brixton Splash Donor Registration Drive

Brixton Splash Donor Registration Drive

With it’s explosion of culture and the general good vibes that are associated with Brixton Splash, the Race Against Blood Cancer team is excited to be part of this years celebration and will be on hand to raise awareness of the lack of diversity of the stem cell and bone marrow database and encourage those in attendance to take a few minutes out to register as a potentially life saving donor.

For those who have not experienced this unique festival which takes place on Sunday 2nd August, we really encourage you to come along to see what all the fuss is about. With a focus on supporting local talent with music styles including but not limited to Soul, Pop, Ska and Reggae through to dancehall and roots, along with an abundance of free workshops, activities, arts and crafts, there really is something for everyone.

If you’re in the area please stop by to say hello to the team. We’ll be located on 412 Coldharbour Lane and for anyone who wants to join our team of volunteers on the day it’s not too late. Please email alex.morrison@raceagainstbloodcancer.com for more details.


What can I do to help? You can help save a life in 1 of 4 ways - find out more
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Donor register
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Get involved
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Donate funds
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Raise awareness
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