January 18, 2015

Hundreds register on a day of firsts…

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Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 09.36.43Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 09.37.48Yesterday, we held the first Team Margot donor registration event since Margot passed away, in partnership with Delete Blood Cancer UK, at Coleridge Primary School in North London.

It really was a fabulous day which oozed a superb sense of community spirit and goodwill.

THANK YOU to all those who were there: the fantastic organisers, Marina, Elizabeth & Amanda, the wonderful 60+ volunteers who gave up their day to help register potential stem cell donors, all those who worked the various stalls and helped make the day run smoothly, Leon (headmaster) and the school who also hosted assemblies during our Blood Cancer Awareness Week in the days leading up to yesterday’s event, our Ambassadors & friends who came to support and of course to the hundreds of people that arrived to register.

It was a truly remarkable event.

BBC London News

BBC London News

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ITV London News

I was invited to say a few words to the volunteers just before the start of their briefing (see below) and have included a few photographs which hopefully capture the spirit of the occasion.

The BBC & ITV London news clips (click the images) are helpful records of the day.

We are thrilled to report that 303 people registered as potential stem cell donors at yesterday’s event & another 70 stepped up during our Blood Cancer Awareness Week. Marina assures me that there will be more besides next week as well.

Please tell someone about this and share the link to this page to help spread awareness.

Thank you.

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Sam Sarsfield with Margot's Auntie Charlotte. Sam initially contacted us via Twitter and later held a very successful event 'Dance4Margot' in the Midlands, before later graduating and as her first job joining Delete Blood Cancer UK. Marvellous!

Sam Sarsfield with Margot’s Auntie Charlotte. Sam initially contacted us via Twitter and later held a very successful event ‘Dance4Margot’ in the Midlands, before then graduating and as her first job recently joined Delete Blood Cancer UK. Marvellous!

Author & TV Dr Ellie Cannon buys some Margot Bows for her daughter

Author & TV Dr Ellie Cannon buys some Margot Bows for her daughter

Hello and good morning.

Thank you all for being here today – my name is Yaser and I’m Margot’s father.

Marina stepped up and volunteered to organise and run today’s event (along with Amanda & Elizabeth) – and whilst Marina asked me to say ‘hello’ at the start and Vicki and I and also others in our family are all here for the duration of the day – today really isn’t my event, nor ours at all – it’s yours.

Today happens to be a bit of a”first” and it’s also breaking the mould a bit: it’s the first Team Margot donor registration event since Margot passed away and it also happens to be a bit unusual for Delete Blood Cancer UK in that there isn’t a specific patient in mind, which is usually the case with one of these events & I don’t think there’s been a Team Margot event of this nature and scale. So in that sense, today helps cement a new and important precedent and one which we hope will be repeated many more times.

What we’re all doing here is really quite remarkable; your efforts are very likely to save many lives: lives of people of all ages and all walks of life, who might live anywhere in the world, and the things we’re doing will echo from today into future generations. The children and grandchildren of the potential donors we are signing up will be more likely to register in future, in the same way as their parents and their grandparents did before them. 

Caroline Portlock from Delete Blood Cancer UK briefs the volunteers sitting on the registration desks. We worked closely with Caroline during Margot's appeal

Caroline Portlock from Delete Blood Cancer UK briefs some of the volunteers who will be sitting on the registration desks. We worked closely with Caroline during Margot’s appeal

Sam briefs the volunteers who are to be manning the Final Check Desk

Sam briefs the volunteers who are to be manning the Final Check Desk

The number of registrations & requests for swab kits attributable to Team Margot to date is extraordinary – there were over 35,000 people who joined the stem cell registry following Margot’s appeal last year – and we were told that statistically this means that more than 500 people will now get the chance of a potentially life saving bone marrow transplant. 

That’s fantastic, but really it’s only just scratching the surface; there are more than 37,000 people worldwide who are in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant and perhaps only half of them will ever find their matching donor.

Today’s donor registration event will help increase the size of the registry further still – and the larger and the more diverse the pool of potential stem cell donors becomes, the more lives will be saved. 

So that’s why we are doing this and that’s why we’re all here today – to help save the lives of all those people who, just like Margot and our family, never thought they’d need a bone marrow transplant. 

Event Organiser Marina Calero greets Haringey Mayor Kaushika Amin and Deputy Mayor Tara Scott who arrive to officially open the event

Event Organiser Marina Calero greets Haringey Mayor Kaushika Amin and Deputy Mayor Tara Scott who arrive to officially open the event

Vicki & I with Dr Ellie Cannon and new CEO of Delete Blood Cancer UK Peter Mas-Mollinedo

Vicki & I with Dr Ellie Cannon and new CEO of Delete Blood Cancer UK Peter Mas-Mollinedo

You should all feel rightly proud of what you’re doing here today. 

Remember: Every single registration counts ! and is a potential life that can be saved.

Personally, I must confess to not having been so benevolent before. Now – I almost regard it as a basic duty of any human being to be on the stem cell register, to give blood and so on – but until Margot was diagnosed with leukaemia, my life before was too busy in other directions. I regret that and feel a mixed sense of embarrassment and shame for not having stepped up before. 

So I want to congratulate you all for coming forward and for volunteering to help us with what we’re doing and for being a part of Team Margot !

You are all amazing.

We will continue to make a difference going forward – this stem cell cause has adopted us and is going to stay close to our hearts. So if after today is over and done with, you want to follow and continue to help remotely, we’d be delighted if you followed Team Margot via the social networks and you continue to encourage Just One More to join the register after today, in your own time and in your own way.

Team Margot Ambassador Harley Bird gives an interview about why she is supporting. Harley is always so supportive and was happy to turn her hand to helping out in whatever way possible yesterday, in addition to reading stories to children in the library

Team Margot Ambassador Harley Bird gives an interview about why she is supporting. Harley is always so supportive and was happy to turn her hand to helping out in whatever way possible yesterday, in addition to reading stories to children in the library

Comedian Lee Nelson shows up to register as a stem cell donor and show his support

Comedian Lee Nelson shows up to register as a stem cell donor and show his support

Thank you so much for today Marina and thank you also to the school and to Leon for opening the school doors to the community, not just today but also earlier in the week.

Thank YOU ALL very much again for being a part of Team Margot – together, we’re saving lives. 










Auntie Nadia is interviewed about the presentations she has been giving all this week in the local schools

Auntie Nadia is interviewed about the presentations she has been giving all this week in the local schools

Oscar & Rufus are also interviewed

Oscar & Rufus are also interviewed

Celebrated childrens author & Illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark came to read her stories in the library, including Margot's favourite Blue Kangaroo books

Celebrated childrens author & Illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark came to read her stories in the library, including Margot’s favourite Blue Kangaroo books

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with Margot’s Auntie Noura

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Miranda from Muddy Boots (and one of her books)

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Arts & Crafts session

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listening intently to Harley reading in the library

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Caroline from Delete Blood Cancer UK photo bombs Auntie Noura

Caroline from Delete Blood Cancer UK photo bombs Auntie Noura

Husband to Vicki and father to Oscar (2007), Rufus (2008), Digby (2015) & Margot (2012-2014)

Posted in: Journal