Andy Jackson
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Ambassador Update - July 2017

Andy Jackson
Posted by
31 Jul 2015

From taking on Ride 100 to meeting up with David Walliams and Phil Tuffnell July has been another busy month. Read on to find out more about what you've all been up to... 

July was a brilliant month for the Ambassador programme in so many ways as you stepped up and beyond the line of duty in your efforts to help support us and blood cancer patients and their families.

Highlights include Jane Leahy's brilliant Facebook Live, Ann Bromley's surprise encounter with cricket legend Phil Tuffnell, Joe Smale and Elizabeth Mailey's brilliant piece in the Evening Standard ahead of Ride100.

Here's a more detailed look at some of the things that you've been up to:

1. Prudential Ride 100

On Sunday Ann Bromley, Joe Smale, Paul Carless and Sarah Weltman were all part of the 580 strong Bloodwise Prudential Ride100 team that did us all so proud. Jane Leahy's husband, Mark, and Anna Mamwell's husband Lee were also among the riders to take on (and conquer) the daunting 100 mile course. 

Huge congratulations to Ann, Joe, Paul, Sarah, Mark and Lee for getting round and doing such a brilliant job on the sponsorship stakes, too. It was an absolute privilege to be at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill to cheer everyone on and I managed to get a few good pictures including this brilliant one of Joe (above) who looked remarkably fresh with 10 miles and the prospect of Wimbledon Hill to go!   

The final fundraising total for Ride 100 has yet to be confirmed but we've raised £100,000s which is fantastic! If you'd like to sponsor Ann or Paul both their JustGiving fundraising pages are included on the Ambassador Fundraising page.

2. Jane Leahy's Facebook Live

On Thursday 13th July Jane Leahy joined us for our latest Faceboook live and spoke brilliant about all aspects of her experiences with acute myeloid leukaemia. The interview was watched more than 4,000 times and reached a staggering 220,000 people - one of the highest figures we've ever had!!

A huge thank you to Jane for coming in to speak to us and for being so honest and helpful in her responses. Huge thanks, too, to Erica Farmer and others that took the time to send in a question ahead of the Q&A.

You can watch Jane's Q&A again here:

3. Press coverage

July was a fantastic month for press and media coverage starting in style with Lisa Griffiths and family meeting Britain's Got Talent judge and comedian David Walliams at a special Afternoon Tea Party which attracted lots of press attention. David was brilliant with the boys and has started following us on twitter. Here's hoping this is the start of a growing relationship with David and the charity going forwards...

Samantha Farr's cappuccino cake recipe which she put forward for our Tea with the Girls campaign picked up further press coverage - this time in the Cannock & Rugeley Chronicle. It was another lovely write up which went in to great detail about her experiences with Hodgkin lymphoma and also raised a bit of awareness of the charity at the same time.    

Vivien Dagley was also the subject of a lovely article in the Milton Keynes Citizen off the back of the Tea with the Girls press event featuring the cast of the recent West End show. You can read Vivien's article here

Last and by no means least Joe Smale and Elizabeth Mailey featured prominantly in the coverage around RideLondon doing a brilliant piece in both London's Evening Standard and on a special programme about the event that aired on the BBC on the day of the event.

A huge thank you to Joe and Elizabeth who both spoke openly about the motivations of Team Angus and why they were taking part. For those of you who aren't familiar with the story Joe became friends with Elizabeth's son, Angus, during his treatment for childhood leukaemia. While Joe's treatment was successful, Angus very sadly passed away. He was just 14. Team Angus have been fundraising in his memory ever since.

You can watch the programme which includes a live interview with Elizabeth again here:

4. Raising awareness, representing the charity & supporting others

July was another brilliant month for representing the charity and supporting patients and their families online.

For starters Louise Smith and Mel Plumridge did an absolutely brilliant job representing us and talking about their experiences at a Midlands NHS England Cancer Network event.

We received some brilliant feedback from the organisers who couldn't sing Louise and Mel's praises enough and did so much to raise awareness as this was the first time that we've ever been represented at one of these events.

Whilst at the event Mel met another blood cancer patient, Tim Wright, who he got talking to about the charity and the work that we do (pictured above). Tim has subsquently written a blog for us and has put himself forwards for future media and press work meaning that he is well on the way to becoming an Ambassador. Tim's story is quite remarkable and well worth a read, here's the link

A huge thank you to both Louise and Mel who put a lot in to the event and did us all proud.

George Norton also did a fantastic job speaking about his experiences with a group of medical professionals undergoing a 'Principles of Cancer Care' course at the Royal London Hospital. The audience were all engrossed by his story and were particularly keen to hear how they as medical professionals can do better for patients.

There were also brilliant blogs from Lisa Griffiths about her son Hugo's on-going treatment for ALL and Natalie White who wrote a fantastic blog about her experiences of blood and platelet transfusions which was incredibly well received on Facebook. A huge thank you to them both for taking the time to write blogs which remain one of the simplest and most important ways that you can help us to raise awareness and support others affected by blood cancer.

In addition to your brilliant blogs, we've also started using quotes from Ambassadors in some of our Facebook posts to help bring them to life. The most recent example of this came with Jude and Nige Irwin with our recent post about the research which has found out why some people may become resistant to rituximab which is used in lymphoma treatment:

A huge thank you to Jude & Nige Irwin and also to Lisa Griffiths and Melody Berthoud for providing quotes and parts of their story to help us with this new approach to posts which is already paying dividends.

Community awareness

Last and by no means least you continued to do your bit to raise awareness in your local communities.

Ann Bromley was fantastic talking to people at a Royal Marsden study day about our information and services alongside our very own Lena Elkman while Rich Castle was also busy stocking his local GP surgery wtih more patient helpline leaflets.

The impact of all your efforts should never be underestimated and we had a couple of examples in July of where you made a direct impact.

The first was Ann Bromley who got in touch to say that she had spoken to a lady at the gym who sent me this lovely email after meeting someone at the gym:

"I was speaking to a girl at the gym yesterday and her friend's son, aged 11, has just started treatment for leukaemia. She said it is the most treatable one which is positive. I always keep a supply handy of the little leaflets so gave her one to pass on to her friend and explained that Bloodwise has a fantastic support line. It is unbelievable how often I come across people who have been affected by blood cancer and it's wonderful that I can spread a little awareness." 

The other comes from Aileen Lamb who told us about a man that she knows through work whose wife signed up to become a stem cell donor after hearing about her experiences with AML. Her friends wife has already been identified as a match.

5. Fabulous Fundraising

July was another brilliant month for fundraising.

In an effort to raise some last minute additional sponsorship and awareness ahead of Ride 100, Ann Bromley secured a stand and use of a static bike at her local leisure centre in Tadworth who were incredibly supportive allowing her to put up posters and leaflets all over the gym as well as as selling raffle tickets and having a collection box.

Ann raised £300 for her efforts which also attracted the attention of a certain Phil Tuffnell who on hearing about her particpation in RideLondon recorded a brilliant video with his Question of Sport colleagues and then took it upon himself to turn up at the gym a couple of days later to show his support. Here's another picture of Tuffers doing a spot of lunging with Ann:

Emma Bottoms hosted the hugely successful 'Bottoms Up' 10k with her local Washington running club which raised more than £1250 and did so much to raise awareness of the charity at the same time.

Mark Noblet was also hugely busy this month hosting his annual 'Folk on the Moor' fundraiser which featured music from Roger Davies and pie & peas from what's widely regarded as the best farm shop cafe in Huddersfield. Louise Macleod was among the guests to support Mark who hosted the event as part of his fundraising efforts for his second London to Paris later this year.

A huge well done must also go to Natalie White who despite being less than 4 months post-transplant hosted her own Tea with the Girls raising more than £1000 and to Dan Holloway who held a really novel fundraising event at his local church which involving teddy bears parachuting from the top of the church!

6. Other

Lisa Griffiths celebrated her son Hugo making it through two years of treatment on 13th July and shared the moment with a brilliant photo which we shared on our Facebook page.

Hugo still has some way to go but he's doing really well and we've all got everything crossed for him.

July was also a reason to celebrate for Helen Tait as she reached 10 years since her diagnosis with AML - a milestone that originally passed her by

Last and by no means least I'd like to thank each and every one of you who gave Sylvia Priest support and advice in the Ambassador Facebook group about whether or not they should see their grandson whilst he had the chickenpox.

We're so lucky to have such a supportive and engaged group and couldn't want for better Ambassadors - keep up the good work!