- Advertisement -
Wednesday, 25 November 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Best friend of “much loved” RAF squaddie appeals for more stem cell donors

- Advertisement -

The friends and colleagues of a “much loved” RAF Avionics Technician, who was diagnosed with blood cancer last November, are appealing for more people to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register, after being told his best chance of survival was through a stem cell transplant.

‘Genuinely nice lad’ Dylan Smith, 24, had begun renovating his first home when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), a type of blood cancer, on 2 November 2019.

Prior to his diagnosis, he was excelling at work with 8 Squadron at RAF Waddington and enjoyed football, fishing, golf and entertaining his friends with his dry sense of humour.

‘He is a really loved member of the squadron’ says best friend Aidan Harvey, 25, who worked with Dylan for three years.

‘Dylan and I lived a couple of doors down, and before his diagnosis, he would finish work and fall straight asleep. He was losing weight and when he had a few days off, he decided to visit a doctor.’

Dylan recalls: ‘I was sleeping all the time and my stomach swelled up. It was actually my spleen but obviously, I didn’t know that until I was diagnosed.’

Aidan was out with friends in his hometown of Stoke when he received a call from Dylan. He says: ‘I was in the pub when Dylan called to say he had some crap news. I just broke down in front of my mates.’

Dylan was initially put on a course of chemotherapy tablets to bring down his white blood cell count, but it was, unfortunately, ineffective.

Dylan says: ‘My body wasn’t responding to medication and the leukaemia was still really high. My medical team said the next step is a stem cell transplant and we’re now getting everything in place so that can happen.’

The strength of feeling amongst squadron to help Dylan in any way they could was so strong that they pulled together and raised £2,500 to help him finish his kitchen renovations.

‘He’s a proper legitimate character, and that shows by the amount of money raised’ says Aidan.

‘Dylan’s still greatly missed on the squadron’.

Although Aidan wasn’t aware of stem cell transplants before Dylan’s diagnosis, Dylan himself had signed up to the Anthony Nolan register, after attending a talk in school.

His medical team are now searching that very register to find a matching unrelated donor for Dylan and putting preparations in place.

When asked what he’d say to encourage someone to join the register and save a life like Dylan’s, Aidan is decisive: ‘It takes ten minutes. Those ten minutes can give someone else ten years. You can easily save a life. It’s a no-brainer really.’

Dylan adds: ‘Every person should be part of the register. I was part of the register before my diagnosis, I signed up when I was seventeen. You could sign up and you could save someone else’s life.’

Alice Hirst, National Recruitment Manager at Anthony Nolan, says: ‘By all accounts, Dylan was a big personality, the life and soul of the squadron. He just bought his first house and had a bright future ahead of him when he was given news nobody would want to hear.’

‘Instead of enjoying everything life has to offer you at the age of 24, Dylan has joined the five people a day, who start their search for an unrelated stem cell donor. Every single person who signs up to the register has the potential to give hope to someone like Dylan in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant. We’re especially keen for young men to consider signing up; they account for over 50% of those chosen to donate but makeup just 18% of the Anthony Nolan register. We really need young men to visit our website, find out more and help us address this imbalance.

‘Together, we can work towards a future where nobody is waiting for their match.’

Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16-30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate.

They also carry out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists, who help guide patients through their recovery.

It costs £40 to recruit each potential donor to the register, so Anthony Nolan relies on financial support.

Find out more at www.anthonynolan.org/DonorForDylan

Sign up to receive full FREE access to charity news and special sector offers.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

1,378FansLike
1,834FollowersFollow
30,217FollowersFollow
1,200SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

New discovery shows that brain protein could be starting point for new treatments for pancreatic cancer

A researcher in the US part-funded by the Scottish cancer research charity, Worldwide Cancer Research, has found a protein in the brain that plays...

Thankful Edinburgh mum backs Sick Kids Christmas Appeal

An Edinburgh mum whose son has been in hospital at Christmas time every year since he was born is supporting a charity appeal to...

Employment News

Centrepoint appoints new Director of Fundraising

LEADING youth homelessness charity Centrepoint has announced Julie Milnes as the charity's new Director of Fundraising. In a fundraising career spanning over 17 years, Julie...

Dame Julie Mellor to join Engage Britain Board of Trustees

NEW charity, Engage Britain, has announced that Dame Julie Mellor will join its Board of Trustees. Julie, who joins the Board in November 2020, brings...

National Emergencies Trust appoints Executive Team and announces trustee vacancies

THE National Emergencies Trust (NET) has announced the Executive Team that will be leading the charity beyond its current Coronavirus Appeal into its long-term...

Related News

NSPCC appoints new Director of Strategy and Knowledge

THE NSPCC has appointed Dr Maria Neophytou as its new Director of Strategy and Knowledge. Maria joins the NSPCC from Impetus, a charity supporting young...

Formerly homeless Stoke man says charity volunteering helped battle with drug addiction

THIS International Volunteer Day (5 December), a Stoke-on-Trent man is thanking Hanley-based charity Emmaus North Staffs for helping him battle drug addiction and move...

Hospital charity to give £1million for NHS staff wellbeing

HOSPITAL charity Leeds Cares is due to give at least £1million for initiatives to support NHS staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust during...

Charity brings virtual cheer to hundreds of families affected by childhood cancer

CHILDHOOD cancer research charity Children with Cancer UK aims to bring some Christmas cheer into the homes of families affected by childhood cancer this...

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity launch their Christmas appeal

ROCKINGHORSE launches their 2020 Christmas appeal asking supporters to Remember Rockinghorse and help them continue to provide vital funding for sick children. Usually, the Rockinghorse...
- Advertisement -
X