Hampstead bone marrow charity Anthony Nolan celebrates 40 years of life-saving work

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan - Credit: Archant

A Hampstead-based national charity is calling for donations of all different kinds ahead of its 40th anniversary.

The Anthony Nolan group in Agincourt Road, which supplies bone marrow to patients needing life-saving transplants, has asked more people to register their blood stem cells in order to boost success rates.

Established in 1974, the organisation was the first to create a database of volunteer bone marrow donors and now uses laboratories at the Royal Free Hospital for analysing samples and conducting new research.

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, has also invited local residents to fundraise by running the London Marathon next year on behalf of the charity or to help provide direct financial aid.

Mrs Braund, 50, said: “We would appreciate whatever support people can give to us because we do literally save lives every day. It’s very important work and it’s a local charity.

“We have very special links to the Hampstead area and to the Royal Free. It is a fantastic place to be based. It is a very generous community and I have no doubt they will continue to be generous.”

The charity was founded at the Westminster Children’s Hospital by Shirley Nolan, whose son Anthony died of a rare blood disease as a result of not finding a suitable donor.

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The charity later relocated to Camden in the 1990s.

Anyone aged between 16 and 30 is eligible to join the Bone Marrow Register, which matches sufferers of blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, to people with matching stem cells.

Mrs Braund said: “By the time people need a transplant, there really is nothing else – it’s their last chance. We helped 1,600 people have a chance at life in the last year alone and want to continue doing so.

“For people who do donate, they say it’s one of the best things they have ever done in their lives. It doesn’t get much better than knowing you have saved someone’s life and have given someone a chance.”

She added: “From one mother’s vision, we have saved over one million people.”

* People can apply to join the Bone Marrow Register or make a donation on the Anthony Nolan website at www.anthonynolan.org.