Anthony Nolan is a UK charity that works in the areas of leukaemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and in 2008 it set up the UK’s first dedicated cord blood bank, allowing mothers to safely donate the blood from their umbilical cord and placenta after they give birth. This blood is used in stem cell transplants. For someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder, an amazing stranger donating their stem cells could be their best chance of survival.
Anthony Nolan is a charity close to our sales manager Jo Kingston’s heart and earlier this month she registered for its 30 mile charity fundraiser.
She said: “Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer and for many, a stem cell transplant is their last chance of survival. Raising funds by undertaking a challenge is great because it can give you such a huge sense of achievement, both personally, and because you’re doing something very positive to help.
“By doing this challenge, I’m also able to help more people become aware of the stem cell register which anyone can join, simply by taking a cheek swab which collects potential donors’ genetic information. If you’re a match you could help save a life.”
Jo’s own story is quite incredible and for her to complete this 30 mile challenge will require plenty of will power and determination.
In 1997 Jo was involved in a serious car accident where she “died” twice and was resuscitated by the Lincolnshire Air Ambulance.
We call her the bionic woman as her right leg is more metal than bone. But with metal pins and plates, comes a great deal of pain, and Jo often has to walk with a stick, and is on very strong painkillers to try and dull the constant pain.
Jo was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. She had a partial mascectomy, radiotherapy and is on anti-cancer medication for life.
Despite this Jo is determined to raise money for the charity which she holds so close to her heart.
When she started working for Biovault Family in 2019, Jo, by her own admission, said it was a dream job. “As a scientist with a passion for medicine and healing, its very fulfilling being able to work with these amazing stem cells and giving babies a perfect match if they need them.
“My whole career has been in sales working for some huge multi national companies. But to come back to Devon, where I was brought up, and work for an ethical company that does so much good, is a dream. I believe in everything Biovault stands for, and speaking to all the mums and dads on a regular basis about the imminent birth of their babies, and helping them secure a healthy future for their family by storing their baby’s precious stem cells is just brilliant. Stem cells are such an important area of medicine, and they are even being using in trials in the fight against COVID as they help with the ARDS symptoms that people are dying of. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg and to be able to raise money for Anthony Nolan is just brilliant.”
If you’d like to sponsor Jo, please click this link https://www.facebook.com/donate/251698876485709/10159392866438169/
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.