Seven years ago today, Margot was diagnosed with blood cancer. I remember the key moments so clearly.
We learned an awful lot over the subsequent days. And quickly.
The doctors told us that for Margot to stand the best chance of survival, she needed to have a stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant. And for that to happen, Margot needed a blood stem cell donor, with a matching tissue type.
Understanding that Margot’s mixed heritage was the key difficulty in finding her “perfect match” and that her donor could come from literally anywhere, family and friends came together as ‘Team Margot’ and we launched a public appeal that went global.
Thanks to an anonymous, selfless 21 year old man in Germany, a “suitable match” was found for Margot and she eventually had a bone marrow transplant on 21 February 2014. Unfortunately, Margot’s Leukaemia was extremely aggressive; she relapsed a few months later and died later that year, aged 2 years and 2 months, on the 27 October.
Six years ago, we announced that we would hold an annual Team Margot registration day on 7 October. At the time, we were struck by how little awareness there was around stem cell transplants and there was an absence of another day like it. The first “Team Margot Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Awareness Day” was in 2015 and was designed to promote awareness of the need for more potential stem cell donors to join the UK and worldwide registers.
The following year, it became the “Team Margot Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Registration Day” and this year, in recognition of Margot’s need for blood & platelets during treatment and also following a conversation Vicki and I had about organ donation, we are renaming and repositioning the day as the “Team Margot Donor Registration Day”.
At the beginning of 2020, I wrote a blog post: “the future of Team Margot is about education” and during the course of February, we were thrilled to announce news of our new corporate sponsor, Parkdean Resorts.
Parkdean Resorts have been hugely supportive of Team Margot Foundation, and have contributed to the charity’s 2020 being such an unprecedented year by backing us to the hilt, in many ways and in spite of the massive disruption to their 67 holiday parks around the UK.
One of the brilliant initiatives adopted by Parkdean Resorts is called “Miles for Margot”, a countrywide relay and inter-park walk to raise money for Team Margot Foundation. It started in the North of England in September and continues to move down to the South coast, passing through the various Parkdean Resorts holiday parks during October.
It’s incredibly heart warming to see how the various Parkdean Resorts teams have embraced this ongoing initiative in such a multitude of different ways and how they’re adopting today’s Team Margot Donor Registration Day to raise awareness on the increasing demand for stem cell/bone marrow donations.
Through their parks, Parkdean Resorts are seizing the opportunity to really educate their people on the details surrounding stem cell/bone marrow donations and why it is so important.
During the course of today, they’ll will be drip feeding information out to the thousands of Parkdean Resorts employees, driving them to our family education platform givingtohelpothers.org and encouraging more registrations.
Together, saving lives