SFRS charity partnership awards donors for helping to save lives

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Charity Partnership with Anthony Nolan has held an award ceremony to recognise the efforts of others in helping to save lives.

Stem cell donors from across Scotland attended the ceremony at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) national headquarters in Cambuslang, where they received a Certificate of Commendation from SFRS Chief Officer Ross Haggart.

At the ceremony 14 people were recognised for their selfless efforts. They had been previously recruited onto the Anthony Nolan donor register through the SFRS charity partnership with the stem cell charity.

After being found to be a match for patients in need of lifesaving transplants, they all went on to donate their stem cells to help someone in need.

SFRS Chief Officer Ross Haggart said: “All of these people are truly inspirational. They have displayed an incredible commitment and desire to help others. Through their actions, they have given someone with blood cancer a second chance of life. I’m delighted to award these Certificate of Commendations; they are truly deserved.”

The SFRS and Anthony Nolan partnership’s main focus is on recruitment drives throughout secondary schools as research shows younger donors lead to more successful transplants.

Erin MacKinnnon from Eriskay was a pupil at Sgoil Lionacleit on the island of Benbecula in the Western Isles when she signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register after being recruited through the charity partnership. Erin, who is 21, now studies in Glasgow.

“I’m delighted to receive this Certificate. It was good to hear the donors' stories. I brought two friends with me, they were so inspired, they are going to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Register.”

Maaria Aziz, 22, is from Motherwell and studies in Glasgow. She overcame her fear of needles donate her stem cells after she was matched on the Anthony Nolan Register. She attended the award ceremony with her mum.

“It was really interesting to see all the presentations and to learn more from Anthony Nolan about how donors are matched.”

The SFRS partnership with Anthony Nolan was formed in 2009 after then Area Commander Ally Boyle was diagnosed with myelodysplasia. Ally quickly realised that both SFRS and Anthony Nolan have a shared focus - saving and improving lives. The partnership has seen more than 19,000 potential donors recruited to the stem cell register with 105 of those going on to donate.

Holly Gooch, Partnerships Manager at Anthony Nolan said: “Anthony Nolan’s partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is an incredible part of our lifesaving work ensuring that every patient can receive a stem cell transplant and has the best access to, experience of and outcome from treatment. The tireless work of the SFRS has helped to recruit thousands of potential donors to the stem cell register, helping give over 100 people a second chance at life.

“The 14 donors commended are truly deserving of the recognition bestowed on them, and we hope to continue to recognise many more amazing people in the years ahead.”