Andy Jackson
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Raising the bar

Andy Jackson
Posted by
29 Nov 2013

From being the face of our Christmas Appeal to hosting balls and inspiring staff and blood donors at NHSBT blood donor centres, November has been another outstanding month. Read on to find out more about what you've all been up to in the past few weeks...

After the success of September and October, November was another extraordinarily busy and successful month with so much going on that it's been hard to keep up! Highlights for me include Ann Bromley's brilliant Facebook Live session and Melody (or rather her son, Andrew) being the face of this year's winter appeal.

However there's been so much more going on besides. Here's a taster of what you've all been up to:

1. Heading up our Winter Appeal

Melody Berthoud very kindly agreed to front our Winter Appeal alongside her son, Andrew, who earlier this year finally finished his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after three and a half long and at times extremely tough years.

The appeal launched with a series of packs being sent out to our supporters in the post followed by a series of posts on social media featuring Andrew's remarkable story.

The appeal still has some way to run but the initial response has been fantastic and has generated some lovely feedback which we're delighted with and is no less than Melody and Andrew deserve.

If you haven't already do check out the Winter Appeal landing page to find out more about what it's all about. We've also got a Facebook Live with Melody on Thursday 8th December, too, and would really appreciate any questions that you might have for Melody who is looking forward to her family's first Christmas blood cancer free in four years.

2. Fundraising balls & shopping extravaganzas

Samantha Farr followed Anna Mamwell's brilliant lead by holding her very own Bloodwise ball which was another huge success raising more than £1200 with the promise of more to come.

More than 100 people came out to support Sam including fellow Ambassador Louise Smith and I'd like to say a huge thank you and well done to Sam and the rest of 'Team Samba' who put in such a lot of hard work and effort in to ensuring that the night was a success.

Anna Mamwell was also back on the fundraising bandwaggon less than a month after her own Ball volunteering at a Shopping Extravaganza held by the Grimsby Bloodwise Branch which raised an estimated £11,000.

With Aileen Lamb holding a Grand Raffle Draw on 6th December and Donna Dunn planning a 'Remission Possible' cocktail in conjunction with a cocktail company it seems that the fundraising looks set to continue which we're absolutely thrilled about as this isn't something that we've even asked you to do yet! Keep up the good work!

3. Inspiring others and raising awareness

On Friday 25th November I visited the West End Blood Donation Centre in central London with Ann Bromley to talk to staff and donors about our experiences with blood cancer and the importance of blood and platelet transfusions which so many of us have benefitted from at some point during the treatment process.

The day was a huge success and had a real impact upon both the staff and patients who were so pleased to see and hear from people who had directly benefitted from their generosity.

The visit was part of our ongoing partnership with the NHSBT who are very keen to increase the number of donors whilst raising profile of blood cancer at the same time. We're looking to assist them wherever possible and later this week Brett Grist will be speaking to another centre in Bristol.

Read our blog about our visit and partnership with the NHSBT to find out more about ways that you can get involved.

4. Spreading awareness in the NHS and your local areas

You continue to lead the way in raising awareness of blood cancer and Bloodwise through your tireless efforts putting up posters and handing out leaflets and information booklets which is absolutely fantastic and so, so important if we're going to ensure that patients and their families get access to the support and information that they need.

Rich Castle is amongst those to get in touch having put up posters and placing leaflets in the patient information department of the Royal Marsden in Sutton where he has received his treatment. Rich has also provided another 9 posters to PALS which will be put up on notice boards in the blood cancer wards.

Louise Smith and Dan Holloway have also been busy doing their bit to raise awareness in their local communities. Here's a picture out of Dan out with his youngest raising awareness in South Wales:

A huge thank you to each and every one of you who is continuing to spread the word about us in your local area. As I've mentioned many times before this is absolutely vital to raising awareness and ensuring patients are aware of the support and information that is available to them.

We have big plans next year on how we can expand the programme and get you more involved.
In the meantime, we've created an Awareness gallery in our Bloodwise Facebook group where you can share photos of your posters and information booklets as and when they get put on display.

To order more posters and information and to find out more about ways to get involved in helping to raise awareness in your local area please email our brand new point of contact Alice Randall at arandall@bloodwise.org.uk

5. Helping out at patient events

November saw Ambassadors help out at both the UK Myeloma Forum and CLL Support Association's Patient Day. A huge thank you to both Newton McGrath and Erica Farmer for all their fantastic support manning our patient info stalls and talking to patients and consultants at both the days and to all those Ambassadors that also attended the CLL patient day as guests.

Going forwards we would love to get more of you involved in these patient events as your presence makes a huge difference with benefits taking enormous encouragement and heart from being able to talk to others that have had similar experiences.

Again, there will be much more on this next year but to register your interest in helping out with and atttending patient events please don't hesitate to get in touch with Afia at aboachie@bloodwise.org.uk

Other news

We're delighted to announce that Rob White's wife gave birth to twins Oliver and Alexander earlier this month. Huge congratulations to Rob and the rest of the White family who are now five in number. Rob is hoping to find some time to 'fulfil his Ambassador duties' but something tells us he'll be pretty preoccupied for some time yet!

Congratulations, too, to Brian Penfold and Louise Smith who both had positive news at their latest check-ups which are always a worry for us all no matter how far through or beyond treatment you get.

Last and by no means least we'd like to say a huge well done to Ellie Philpotts who on 12th November received a Beacon of Hope award at the Houses of Parliament for her remarkable contributions to raising awareness of lymphoma and supporting others who have been affected.