Wallsend dad who called on the public for stem cells for his son scoops top Anthony Nolan Award – Chronicle Live

Posted: December 2, 2019 at 5:45 am

Hes done it - Stephen Armstrong has scooped a prestigious award for his huge fund raising efforts as his son fought a rare blood disorder.

The doting dad took home the award for Individual Fundraiser of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2019 ceremony held at the Tower of London.

The top awards were back for their seventh year to recognise the outstanding achievements of the volunteers, fundraisers and campaigners who help the pioneering blood cancer charity save lives.

And the award is in recognition of Stephens incredible fundraising efforts - leading a group of 19 friends and family in a series of physical challenges, all while his son Jacob was undergoing treatment.

When Jacob was diagnosed in 2017 at two-years-old, Stephen set out to find a matching stem cell donor, as well as raise awareness of the need for more people on the register.

From here Jacobs Journey was born, and through a series of challenges including the Great North Run, the Great North Bike Ride and climbing Ben Nevis, Stephen has helped raise over 20,000 for the charity.

Jacob is now four-years-old and his family have been told he does not need a transplant, but Stephen and his family want to continue raising awareness for others who arent so lucky.

When Jacob was diagnosed, we were stunned by how few people were on the stem cell donor register. I couldnt believe how a stranger in the street could potentially save our little boys life, said Stephen, 33, of Wallsend,North Tyneside.

On winning the award, Stephen said: I feel very proud- I really didnt expect it. You dont do it for recognition, but to get more people to join the register.

Stephen and mum Kirsty, 28, received the news in December 2017 that Jacob was suffering from bone marrow failure, which affects between 30 and 40 children each year.

They first became concerned about his health when they went abroad to get married and noticed he was getting bruised easily. The marks would take weeks to disappear, so when the couple returned to the UK they decided to take Jacob to the doctor for a check up.

After tests he was then diagnosed and was treated at the Great North Childrens Hospital in Newcastle, where he received two blood transfusions.

Stephen, who has raised a further 8,000 for other smaller charities, added: When we were told Jacob did not need the transplant it was the best news in the world, a total relief. He still needs check ups every three months and his consultants is keeping an eye on him. There are so few people on the stem cell donor register so I just wanted to create a ripple effect with awareness and get more people on it.

Henny Braund, Chief Executive at Anthony Nolan, said: Stephen is a hugely deserving winner of this award; his incredible support and passion for our work is a fantastic example of our charity, which is built on making lifesaving connections. It was lovely to meet Stephen and I continue to find myself inspired and humbled by the dedication and strength of supporters like him.

By raising vital funds and much needed awareness, we are curing blood cancer together. We can give families hope, and give more people a future. But without supporters like Stephen, lives cant be saved. Without him, there is no cure.

Anthony Nolan is the charity that finds matching stem cell donors for people with blood cancer and blood disorders and gives them a second chance at life. It also carries 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.

To see the full shortlist, and find out more about the charity visit the website here.

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Wallsend dad who called on the public for stem cells for his son scoops top Anthony Nolan Award - Chronicle Live

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