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Help Christmas Wishes Come True

Today, five people will begin their search for a stem cell donor, could you buy them a second chance at life this Christmas?

In 2020, we aim to launch a pilot project in the West Midlands to recruit 11,000 new donors – especially those from minority groups – to the stem cell and bone marrow register.
We need your help to make this happen.

The Trustees at the Roger Counter Foundation have generously agreed to match the first £15,000 of donations to the project so any gift you make is doubled.

Please, help Christmas wishes come true.

A number of our supporters have kindly agreed to share their own stories in the hope you feel able to support this year’s appeal:

Khaleel with his sisters and brother
We worked with Kelly and her family to find Khaleel (left) a donor

The Patient’s Story
Kelly explains how important our community work is to families that are seeking a stem cell donor:
“We became involved with Race Against Blood Cancer through a member of the team when my son, Khaleel, relapsed with leukaemia. He needed an urgent stem cell transplant and the charity ran donor drives all over to try to get more people to sign up to the register and find him a match.
The charity makes a huge difference in the community, pretty much everyone locally now knows how important becoming a donor is. People always make a point of telling me how they’ve signed up at one of the donor drives as soon as they realise Khaleel’s my son. It makes me proud to know that he helped the charity to spread the word of the importance of being on the stem cell register.
Sadly Khaleel passed away after his transplant but we continue to work with Race Against Blood Cancer; every year the charity holds a fun day ‘Remembering Khaleel’ it’s always a great turn out and they sign up more new donors to help other patients seeking a match’.

James Burton
James donated his stem cells to give a patient in Australia a second chance at life

The Donor’s Story
James explains why he’s supporting our appeal for funding this Christmas:
‘Friends of mine started the charity when one of our group was diagnosed with blood cancer, so I jumped at the chance to join the register. A couple of years passed and I was told I was a match for a patient in Australia; I went on to donate my stem cells shortly after.
To me, the work that the charity does is so important, in an ideal world there would be a presence in every community. Having a Community Engagement Manager in the West Midlands will mean an increase in the number of registered donors, resulting in more people across the world being offered the chance of life-saving treatment.”

Bex (right) became involved with the charity after donating stem cells for her sister Natalie (shown)
Bex (right) became involved with the charity after donating stem cells for her sister Natalie (shown)

The Volunteer’s Story
Our volunteer – and stem cell donor – Bex, is urging you to make a donation to support our work:
“My sister was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2016. Following her first bone marrow transplant, we became involved with Race Against Blood Cancer and have supported the team since.
Being visible on a local level not only increases support but helps to raise awareness of the charity’s message and ethos. It is essential that we get more people on the donor register – things could have been so different for my sister. Everyone diagnosed with a blood disorder should have an equal chance of survival.”

Two of our latest donors
Our new donors are registered through DKMS

The Partner’s Story
Our registry partner DKMS explains the impact of having a local presence, and with this much achieved at ad-hoc events, imagine what we could achieve with a full-time Community Engagement Manager:
“From the very beginning, the West Midlands Race Against Blood Cancer representatives have been fundamental in driving the recruitment of donors to the stem cell register, with the volunteer team holding more than 70 events.
The fact that there is a local presence offering awareness, education and support, provides those affected and their families with the knowledge that their community are able to help and want to support them at such a time. This is an enormous boost and cannot be underestimated. The reassurance that such an important message and service is being facilitated by another organisation dedicated to trying to offer patients a second chance at life is a fact that we at DKMS value greatly.”


Record two day donor drive

Record London donor drive

This week saw the team do their first donor drive with Starcom, who are based in the BBC Televison centre in White City London.

The team set up for two days due to the number of occupants in the building and it was well worth it. There was a steady flow of people over the course of the event and everyone there was helpful and friendly.

In the end they managed to sign up a whopping 266 people!!!!! This is an incredible number and couldnt have been acheived without all the help we received. A massive thank you to Amy Kean and Lorena Di Lello for organising the event, Jayde Jarret, Ellis Parsons, Sarah Robson, Neville, Darren and Alex for helping out over the course of the two days. A special thank you to Emily Carroll from Homeslice for providing us with food over the two days and everyone who came down to sign up and continues to raise awareness.

Two of the Starcom team
Two of the Starcom team that signed up at the event

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URGENT – Can you help Ihsan find a donor?

Six year old Ihsan Khan, from the Telford area, urgently needs a stem cell/bone marrow match to help treat his Aplastic Anaemia.

We are working with Ihsan’s family to recruit potential donors at events being held this week.  These being:

Friday 3 May 2019 4.30-7.30pm
Jamia Masjid Ghousia, Regent Street, Wellington, Telford, TF1 1PF

Saturday 4 May 2019 – 12-3pm
Telford Central Mosque 88-90 King Street, Wellington, Telford, TF1 1NZ

If you are unable to get to either event but still want to sign up, you can do so here.  Please help: even if you aren’t a match for Ihsan, you could be for one of the other 2,000 people in the UK currently waiting for a match.

Photo shows Ihsan Khan and his Mum
Photo shows Ihsan Khan and his Mum Assia

 


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Little lifesavers – Allscott Heath FC

Thank you so much to the Allscott Heath FC U9s team for raising money for our charity at their bag pack fundraiser at Asda in Donnington, Telford last Saturday. They raised an impressive £420.45 for Race Against Blood Cancer which will enable us to continue our work saving the lives of people with blood cancer.

We are so proud of the whole team of little lifesavers – and their siblings – for taking on this momentous challenge and giving up their time to support the charity Also thank you to Marcus, Morgan, Simra and Khalis for helping out too!

We’d also like to say a big thank you to ASDA Donnington for having us and to our community engagement manager Gemma Elsmore for co-ordinating the event.

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Our newest volunteer – Rebecca Richards

Our grateful thanks to Rebecca Richards – the newest member of our volunteering team -who ran her first two donor drives for us last week. Her first took place at Bloor Homes (Midlands branch) where she signed up 20 potential stem cell donors and she then registered a further 20 at Sunday’s UK Triathlon Events Birmingham Run. Many thanks to Rebecca for a great week of sign ups, those who allowed us to host our donor drives and to all those potential lifesavers who registered with us.

We would also like to show our appreciation to Amie, James, Jen and Afy for volunteering their time last week and helping to help raise awareness of the work we do. Thank you everyone!

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering for the charity and running your own donor drives on our behalf, please contact us.

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Race Against Blood Cancer Charity Launch Night

Race Against Blood Cancer – Making a Difference

In this video you’ll learn more about us, our impact and why we wish to improve the lives of people with blood cancer.

To help us to give every blood cancer patient the equal prospect of a quality stem cell match, and a better chance of survival, please consider supporting our work by making a monthly donation here.

We would like to give a special thank you to Carl Ikeme, Matt Murray, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Twenty5Eight who have helped us raise awareness of the need for more stem cell donor registrations, and for their support in the making of this video.


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Donor Match Stuart Freeman tells us about his stem cell donation experience

Earlier this year we were thrilled to hear that one of our donor sign ups in 2017, Stuart Freeman, had been matched with a patient in need.  In July this year we were pleased to accompany Stuart on his visit to the London Clinic where he harvested his stem cells for the first time and was able to donate these cells to give his recipient a second chance at life.

We interviewed Stuart after his donation to give us some insight into his experience of being a stem cell donor and potential life saver.

How and why did you originally register as a potential blood stem cell/bone marrow donor?

I was with my brother at the Lilleshall 10k running event last year where Race Against Blood Cancer were holding a donor drive.  I knew of someone who had blood cancer but I knew nothing about the stem cell or bone marrow donors or how they are used to help blood cancer patients.   However, when I was shown how easy the sign up process was I went ahead and registered.

How did you find out you were a match for someone and how did you feel?

DKMS called to tell me I was a match for a patient in need – I obviously wanted to do it but like most people I did feel a little nervous as I hadn’t really researched the actual donation process beforehand, and didn’t know if there may be any long term side effects. Once I spent a bit of time researching the process I felt more at ease.  Knowing that I may have a few short term side effects didn’t bother me as I knew I could be saving a life.

Did you get to choose the method of donation? 

Yes I did – Initially they asked for bone marrow, which I was happy to donate but after reviewing the recipient’s needs the patient team were more than happy to take my stem cells instead.

How did DKMS prepare you for the donation (appointments/medical injections etc?)

I had a medical a few weeks before which I attended at the London Clinic and then 4 lots of 4 injections, four days before the actual donation.  The medical team also came out to me to do the injections – I was originally meant to be paintballing and so they were even prepared to come out to the venue, but it got cancelled so they came to me at home whilst I was watching the England World Cup game instead!

Where did you go to harvest your cells and how long did the process take?

I went to the London Clinic for my procedure – it took around 3hrs 50 minutes to collect the stem cells and I had to wait for around 30 minutes afterwards for them to check I had donated enough cells.  They needed 5 million but managed to collect 23 million in that short time.  I was told they would use what they needed and freeze the rest for anyone else who may need them.

Is it painful and did you experience any side effects?

I didn’t experience any pain as such; I just had the usual side effects that I’d prepared myself for, so I was slightly achy in the lower back and feeling a little groggy after the injections.  The medical team told me I would feel better after the stem cell collection and they were right.  The following day I was feeling 100% again!

Did you incur any costs?

DKMS covered my travel and hotel stay as I lived quite far from the clinic.  I was also given the opportunity to use an optional food and drink voucher but I used my own money.

How did you feel mentally and physically after the donation procedure was over?

I actually felt really good physically almost straight away; any side effects you have are not serious and are only short term.  I felt so positive that I had the opportunity to save a life and be able to raise awareness of being a donor and what the process involves – the worst part was being on camera!

How do you think we can encourage other people like you to register?

It’s really important to me to get across how easy it is to register and to donate.  Just a few hours of my time could have potentially saved a life and that makes me feel great.  For me it’s all about the awareness, if I can help inform people that life saving like this exists and show how simple the process is, then I know people would register in a heartbeat!

We would like to say a massive thank you to Stuart – the impact that he is going to have on his recipient life can’t be put into words. We would also like to thank you to DKMS, the medical team and the amazing staff on the day at The London Clinic.

Stuart and Alex Morison   Stuart Donation   Stuart Donating Stem Cells


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Race Against Blood Cancer finds donor match

Wednesday 15th November 2017 will go down in Race Against Blood Cancer history as the day that one of the donors that the team registered went on to successfully donate their stem cells in hope of saving the life of a patient in need.

After coming close on no less than 10 other occasions, the team were overjoyed to learn that James Burton had been invited to Harley Street, London, to carry out the important yet simple procedure. What made the news even more special was that James registered at the launch event for the charity in the summer of 2015, where the team held a dinner, dance and golf tournament to announce their arrival as a burgeoning charity with big ambitions.

James had originally been contacted to be a match last year but at the last minute, to his disappointment he was informed that he wasn’t required. This time around everything was smooth sailing. James had a nurse visit him 4 days prior to heading to the clinic, to give him an injection to stimulate the growth of his white cells and travelled to London the day before the procedure.

In the end James harvested his stem cells over the course of two days with the procedure itself painless as expected. For those of you following the live video footage via Facebook, you’ll have seen a very relaxed James occupying himself by playing Football Manager throughout, while being amused by Alex Morrison, our Community Engagement lead.

We would like to say a massive thank you to James – words cannot express how grateful we are to him. We would also like to thank all of those who have donated and continue to support Race Against Blood Cancer, DKMS and the incredible staff on the day at The London Clinic.

Witnessing the life changing impact their efforts have had for a blood cancer patient in need, the team is as motivated as ever to find the next James Burton and have some great plans in place to continue raising awareness of the lack of diversity of those signed up to the donor register and running many more donor drives to find many more matches.

James Burton Donating Donation Process 3 Donation Process James Burton and friends


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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


Wristbands don't save lives. Signing up as a donor does.

Are you interested in saving lives? Join our Community Engagement Team

Race Against Blood Cancer is looking to add two part time employees to its Community Engagement Team to register lifesaving stem cell and bone marrow donors.

Successful applicants will be responsible for organising and leading their own donor drives at various locations where there are large crowds of people such as colleges, universities, sports clubs, places of work, music events etc., along with educating and signing up members of the public who are in attendance.

In the role the person will self-select where and when they want to do a donor drive, meaning there’s a lot of flexibility. The person will earn a day rate which will be dependent on how many donors they register on that day. Someone who has access to a car would be ideal given there will be travel involved.

If you’re interested please send your CV to lucy.baumgartner@raceagainstbloodcancer.com along with a 200 – 300 word description of why you believe you would be a good candidate for the role.

Some of the qualities we’re looking for include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • A passion for community or charity related projects
  • Comfortable engaging with members of the public
  • Good organisational skills
  • Proactive and considered a self-starter
  • Good oral and written communication skills

The first phase of the application process ends on Friday 24th March by which time you will need to have submitted your CV and reasons why you’d be suitable for the role. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to participate in a telephone and in-person interview.

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The below video explains how someone becomes a potential donor. It’s worth noting that Race Against Blood Cancer and our Community Engagement team is only responsible for the registration process which involves filling out a short form and a cheek swab.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyB686Gnbbg


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
It takes just a few minutes to sign up & help fight blood cancer
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Get involved
With campaigns & fundraising events that help save lives
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Donate funds
Please make a donation so we can get the message out there
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Raise awareness
Help us show how big the problem is & how easy the solution