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Ray Algar reports on an initiative which went beyond fundraising and into the very personal sphere of bone marrow donation

During July 2013, published a very personal story. It was about Chris Spencer, manager of Hornchurch Sports Centre in Essex, UK. Chris had leukaemia and was urgently in need of a life-saving bone marrow (blood stem cell) transplant. According to the Anthony Nolan charity, there are currently around 1,800 people in the UK in need of a bone marrow transplant – usually their last chance of survival.

Who was Anthony Nolan? At just three years of age, Anthony Nolan was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and his only hope was a bone marrow transplant. No-one in his immediate family was a match, and a transplant using bone marrow from an unrelated donor had never succeeded because there was no database to find matching donors. So Anthony’s mother Shirley campaigned and fundraised to create a central database. Sadly Anthony died, but his legacy is the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register, the largest of its kind in the world.

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