A panda tale: Joining the Anthony Nolan register

Feb 5, 2016 11:04:25 AM

You might have caught our chat with Anthony Nolan’s marketing manager yesterday. Rachel gave us great insight into the inspiring work that goes on behind the scenes. I was on the Anthony Nolan register before I joined cranberry panda, but getting the chance to talk to some of the people behind the charity welcomed a great sense of pride in that I can help, even in the smallest way.

So, why Anthony Nolan?

To start with, Anthony Nolan isn’t the sole charity I support but in terms of its work to save the lives of those with blood cancer, it is one that resonates with me highly. From quite a young age, I was aware of what cancer was and the damage it does to sufferers, their friends and their families. However I suppose the first milestone in my journey to joining the donor register was at the age of sixteen. 

Everyone remembers their GCSE’s right? Oh how our teachers would tell us that this was the most important set of exams in our lives while forcing us into extra-curricular study sessions we really didn’t want to attend. We were sixteen after all! We were at the finish line of secondary school, with a long summer of fun in sight. Unfortunately, cancer threw a spanner in the works. 

My best and oldest friend, after a short period of not quite feeling herself, was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a diverse group of blood cancers.) I still remember it so clearly; I was in a Science lesson, which I hated enough without this devastating news and I was the first of our group she told. It felt horrible having to deliver that news to our close circle but straight away I thought “If this is bad, what must she be feeling?”

It’s been ten years since then, and I’m happy to say she’s stronger and better than ever. She fought hard and she won. It’s been humbling to see and the small acts of charity we did as teenagers were just the start.

Why I joined the Anthony Nolan donor register

Moving forward a few years, I found myself working at The London Clinic. It was the main centre for Anthony Nolan donations, so I got to meet so many people; sufferers and donors. Once again, I was seeing what cancer can do and while they were not family or friends, I got to know these people so well. One man in particular will always remain in my mind. He was absolute gold; kind, intelligent and he had the best sense of humour. He always said talking to us (non-medical staff) brightened up his day…little did he know it was actually the other way round. But, it was good to know I could help even if it was just a quick chat every day.

Unfortunately he lost his fight. While his cancer wasn’t blood related, he did open my eyes up even more to what makes cancer victims feel that little bit better…support! That’s where the donors come in. I got to meet these selfless people every day, some travelling across the UK to donate their stem cells or bone marrow. Their support was stratospheric! Working in that environment, I got to understand what the donation process entailed so there was no hesitance when I visited the Anthony Nolan website… I registered there and then.

As Rachel explained in our chat, Anthony Nolan is working to bust some myths about the process so I hope I can help with that. I have been in the same room as these donors, and there was never an ounce of discomfort. They would leave with a HUGE smile on their face, because they have made the commitment to help save lives. Anyone who has any reservations, I urge you to throw those away because hesitation is more harmful than the donation process…believe me! Starting with a little research about donating is great! There are countless other ways to help, which you can find here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into my journey to joining the Anthony Nolan donor register. My final word on the matter is that ANY charity or cause you support, you can always make a difference…be it big or small! 

Loved this post? Find out more about Anthony Nolan.

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