Local officer brings thousands to fight blood cancer

James Brokenshire has congratulated Sidcup residents Andy and Nicola Sellings for winning a special Anthony Nolan award. The Presentation took place at a ceremony at the House of Commons to recognise the work of the uniformed services in the battle against blood cancer. 

The event, organised by the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, gathered together members of the uniformed services who have been instrumental in recruiting lifesaving bone marrow donors to its UK register.

Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer who need a lifesaving transplant by matching them with remarkable people willing to donate their blood stem cells (or bone marrow) to a stranger.

Members from the Army, RAF, police and prison services were thanked for their tireless efforts in expanding the register through their recruitment of young, healthy donors who make the best matches for patients.

Andy is a Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police and his wife Nicola is a Building Resources Manager for Bexley and Greenwich Boroughs. They began organising donor recruitment events at Bexleyheath Police Station, where Andy is based, shortly after Andy was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Andy had his transplant on 25th May 2011 from a donor found by Anthony Nolan and is back at work, having made a good recovery.

Since then, Andy and Nicola have organised over 40 events and recruited almost 3000 people to the register. Two people recruited through their campaign have now been identified as a lifesaving match.

James Brokenshire MP, said:

"Anthony Nolan does an incredible job in running the bone marrow register and finding matches for transplants. Their service relies on donors coming forward and benefits from the contribution of some incredible people.

"It was a particular privilege to recognise Andy and Nicola Sellings for their work within the Metropolitan Police.  Hearing Andy’s own story of receiving a bone marrow transplant and using his personal experience to recruit nearly 3,000 donors is truly humbling. Their work and the work of others is literally helping to save lives."

Henny Braund, Anthony Nolan Chief Executive, presented the awards with British comedian, and former prison officer, Ava Vidal.

Henny Braund said: ‘These awards recognise the outstanding work of individuals within the uniformed services, who work tirelessly to increase the number of lifesaving donors on the Anthony Nolan register. Their recruitment of young, healthy donors across all communities and backgrounds brings hope to hundreds of people with blood cancer for whom a transplant is their last chance of life. I would like to thank every one of them for their on-going efforts and congratulate them all on their lasting achievements.’