Yesterday, I attended the Anthony Nolan / All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Stem Cells meeting at the Houses of Parliament.
The event was hosted by Mark Tami MP, who also kindly supported our own Parliamentary event back in May, given his role as the Co-Chair of the APPG. Mark is a fantastic Team Margot supporter and has “previous” in this field, not least because his own son underwent a bone marrow transplant.
The event was well attended by a mix of people, both new and also increasingly familiar faces. Amongst others, I was pleased to catch up with Kathryn Cartwright again and to see her looking so well – Kathryn is unique in that she has had three stem cell transplants (one of which was accidental!?) and also to see the unstoppable Georgie Ireland (Give Our Dad a Bone) and Lara’s wonderful parents, Supanya & Stefano Casalotti (Match4Lara).
It was also a good opportunity for me to meet Lara’s brother Seb for the first time, who was the key speaker and it was great to hear him chime with so much of what we are saying and promoting, in particular the importance of education and highlighting the need for more stem cell donors to go onto the school curriculum.
Seb very eloquently emphasised how, by donating here in the UK, you not only help your local community but also the world community too and he underscored the fact that certain issues are unacceptable, one such example being childhood mortality.
Importantly, Seb also raised the disparity between the chances of Caucasian patients finding their ‘perfect match’ (70%) compared with those patients from the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities who’s odds, by comparison are only 20%.
For mixed race patients, like Margot and Lara, the chances are even worse still.
In Seb’s view, this is another case of striving for “racial justice” and he was clear to frame the issue in the discourse of racial justice, to heighten the urgency to move forward on this matter, “so no one ever has to regret their heritage in the wake of a diagnosis of blood cancer.”
An inspirational speech begotten from an inspirational family.
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Together, saving lives
Husband to Vicki and father to Oscar (2007), Rufus (2008), Digby (2015), Humphrey (2017) & Margot (2012-2014)
Team Margot’s mission
To help save and improve lives by educating, inspiring and motivating people, especially from ethnically diverse communities, to register as blood, organ, stem cell and bone marrow donors and to provide a range of support to families caring for child cancer patients.
Team Margot also provides secretariat support to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethnicity Transplantation and Transfusion.