Saturday, June 6, 2020

Father Who Called On The Public For Their Stem Cells For His Son Nominated For A Prestigious Anthony Nolan Award

Father Who Called On The Public For Their Stem Cells For His Son Nominated For A Prestigious Anthony Nolan Award

Like some other parents who have been in his shoes, Stephen Armstrong knows all too well what it is like looking for a transplant donor.

Just at the age of two years, his doting son Jacob was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. His father was forced to call on the public to donate stem cells that would match those of his son.

Although it later turned out that his son did not need the transplant, this ordeal marked the beginning of Stephen’s journey to raise as much money as possible for Anthony Nolan, a blood cancer charity. His goal was to ensure that no one else had to undergo what he went through.

Having raised more than £20,000, his efforts seem to have finally caught the attention of the charity as they plan to recognize him at an awards ceremony which will be held at the Tower of London in a few weeks.

Stephen Armstrong, 33, has been shortlisted for the prestigious award, which is meant to recognize the outstanding fundraisers, campaigners, and volunteers who help the blood cancer charity achieve its goal of saving as many lives as possible.

Armstrong has been nominated for the award for his selfless drive in not only fundraising funds for the charity but also by seeing a family and a group of 19 friends through a series of physical challenges, all while his child was going through treatments.

father nominated for an anthony nolan award

Where It All Started

In 2017, his son Jacob was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder. This prompted Stephen Armstrong to set out in search of a matching stem cell donor for his son. He also took it upon himself to raise awareness and encourage more and more people to register as organ donors.

This marked the birth of Jacob’s journey. Through several challenges and undertakings such as the Great North Bike Ride, Great North Run, and Ben Nevis climbing, this adorable father has been able to raise at least £20,000 for the cause.

Although it has turned out that their son will not need a transplant, after all, this family plans to continue with the awareness for the sake of others who may not be as lucky.

 Jacob explains how surprised they were at the small number of who had registered as stem cell donors. 

He goes on further to state how the Anthony Nolan charity offered great support while their son Jacob was ill. He says he is very proud for the nomination and hopes that this gesture will help spread the word and raise more awareness.

The family explains how their life was turned upside down when their son was diagnosed with bone marrow failure in 2017. According to research, this condition affects at least 30-40 kids every year.

It all started as a simple thing. Stephen and his wife, Kirsty, had traveled abroad for their marriage when they began noticing that their son would get bruised easily and that the bruises would take weeks to disappear.

After returning to the UK, the couple took their son for a checkup where he received some tests and at least two blood transfusions.

The news that their son would not need the transplant was the best news that the family had received in a long time. Although Jacob needs to be checked by a doctor every three months, the family is still happy and relieved.

Stephen adds that he hopes to create more awareness and is urging more people to register as stem cell donors to save lives.

Nelson O. Freytes
Nelson O. Freytes
Nelson received a liver transplant over 20 years ago due to fulminant liver failure, caused by thyroid medication. A few years after his transplant, Nelson set out to build a ‘next-level’ social network for the transplant community and started Transplant Cafe, and most recently Transplant News.

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