Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia. For many, a blood stem cell transplant is their only chance of life but finding a donor is far from easy for many and a transplant is no soft option or miracle cure. Only half of those that undergo a transplant survive beyond five years and even successful transplants come with years of treatment and challenging times for patients and their families.

For over 2,300 people each year who need transplant, Anthony Nolan gives real hope for the future. The charity works with partners across the country and around the world on developing its donor register to help more people find a better match; they invest in ground-breaking research to reduce the need for transplants and improve their success; and explore new ways to support patients and their families on their long and difficult journey from diagnosis to recovery. But they still cannot help everyone who needs it and every year 700 people lose their battle without finding a match. This needs to stop.

Anthony Nolan invests in three areas: Register, Research, and Recovery. Combining cutting-edge research with better care and an ever-expanding group of stem cell donors willing to step up if called saves more lives and makes a positive and lasting difference to thousands of families everywhere.

Support from Circle Sq. Members

“I have had the privilege of seeing first-hand the impact that the charity Anthony Nolan has in saving the lives of people with blood cancer. There are very few charities where your involvement can lead directly to saving someone’s life. Every day 4 patients receive a second chance of life as the result of selfless donors donating lifesaving stem cells. The charity drives forward pioneering research in the field of blood cancer and transplants along with supporting patients and their families at every step of their transplant journey. Quite simply, Anthony Nolan saves lives every day and getting involved with this charity will have a true impact. Be that giving a personal gift, fundraising, spreading the word to recruit new donors (aged 16-30) or volunteering, every action will help Anthony Nolan support even more people. The charity does whatever it takes and I know that together we can play our part.”

Ian Krieger, Chair, Anthony Nolan and Circle Sq. member

“I’m fortunate to have served as a trustee of this wonderful charity for the past six years. I can vouch for its strong leadership, excellent governance and careful stewardship of any money that it raises. Above all, it is the potentially life saving nature of the work of matching donors to recipients, collecting stem cells and delivering them wherever they are needed that inspires me. Only half of everyone who receives a stem cell transplant, survives and their road to recovery can be difficult and dangerous. The Anthony Nolan charity funds and conducts research, campaigns for better NHS provision after a transplant and supports patients and families who are living with blood cancers.”

Ann (Chany) Robinson, GP, trustee Anthony Nolan and Circle Sq. member

Volunteering Opportunities


Without its incredible volunteers, Anthony Nolan simply couldn’t do what they do. There are many different ways in which Circle Sq. members can volunteer their time and offer practical support to the charity. In return, you’ll get to meet new people, gain new skills, find a sense of purpose – and feel good knowing you’ve helped give people with blood cancer the chance to live.

Be a Stem Cell Courier


Once a person donates stem cells they need to reach their recipient within 72 hours. Anthony Nolan relies on a brilliant team of volunteers to take the stem cells where they need to go. And that could be anywhere in the world. A trip might take just an hour travelling between London clinics, or it could require an overnight stay for international pick-ups. So you’ll need to be prepared to commit a lot of time and energy. One thing’s for sure though – you’ll find the whole experience very rewarding indeed.

You need to be:

    • Under 75 (their insurance policy is not eligible for people over the age of 75)
    • Able to attend an initial training session and then bi-annual training days
    • In good shape. Couriering involves carrying a heavy medical transplant box and sometimes travelling for long distances
    • Flexible, and have lots of spare time during the week. Transplants can be scheduled or cancelled at short notice.
    • Based in London, Manchester or Sheffield.

Become an education volunteer


Inspire young people to become life savers by giving presentations to 16–18 year-olds about the importance of donating stem cells, blood and organs via The Hero Project programme. Volunteers are trained to deliver inspirational sessions explaining what’s involved and how to register as a donor.

Volunteer as a donor visitor


Support remarkable donors to have the best possible experience when they’re donating, giving them the important information they need through the process.  This role requires excellent communication skills; you’ll need to be able to listen to the donor, empathise with them and then email feedback to the Anthony Nolan team within 24 hours of your visit. You’ll also need good coping skills. Very rarely, a problem may arise during a donation. You’ll need to be able to comfort the donor. You will always have the full support of the Anthony Nolan team, who can guide you through any situation.

Donations take place either at one of Anthony Nolan’s three London collection centres, or at our collection centre in Sheffield. Volunteers are trained to give important information to the donor on the day of their donation, and answer any questions they may have. Visits take anything from 10 minutes to an hour – it depends on how talkative the donor is! Ideally, volunteers commit to at least two days a month to visit our donors. All visits take place Monday to Thursday during the day, so you will need to be free during normal working hours. Visits are usually in the morning but you may also need to meet after lunch. As it can take several months to complete the training to be a donor visitor, it is expected that you continue in the role for at  least a year, attend initial training sessions and an annual training day.

Other ways to get involved:


    • Recruiting new donors

We recruit 16-30 year olds onto our stem cell donor register and you can encourage friends, family, and colleagues to join up here: www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save- life/donate-your-stem-cells.

Our scientific research has shown that younger donors give each patient a better chance of recovery, and young men are most likely to be selected by clinicians as they typically produce a greater number of life-saving stem cells. It is also vital that we continue to increase the diversity of our donors, as patients from minority ethnic backgrounds struggle to find a match compared to patients from a white north European background.

    • Connecting with companies

Introductions to decision-makers at companies can make a great difference. Our corporate partnerships can bring financial support as well as encouraging employees to join the donor register and champion Anthony Nolan. We work closely with companies to ensure that we develop a true partnership and that they and their employees feel the benefit of supporting our work.

    • Championing our work

Across the UK people are spreading the word about how we save lives, encouraging people to join the register, and making more people aware of the help we can offer patients and their families.  Can you share our stories and help spread the word? www.anthonynolan.org/patients-and- families/real-stories

    • Celebrity endorsement

Can you introduce us to celebrities, with whom our work will resonate? Genuine interest and involvement of famous supporters can introduce their fans and followers to what Anthony Nolan does, and help in gaining press coverage for our campaigns. For example, our Patron, Olivia Colman, hosts events, raises money, thanks stem cell donors, and encourages people to sign up to the register. Celebrities with a wide following can make a genuine contribution to our ability to save lives.

    • Financial Support

The Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register was the first of its kind in the world, and was only made possible through the generous financial support of a large number of people who responded to Shirley Nolan’s appeal.

Today, it is our amazing financial supporters that help us every day to find donor matches for more and more people with blood cancer, provide the care that means they can thrive, and fund the ground-breaking research that will have such an impact in the future.

Support can be a one-off gift, a regular contribution, taking on a challenge, pledging to leave a gift in your will or giving via a charitable trust, for example. Please do let us know if you would like to discuss any of these options.

Case Study

58-year-old Ruth is a farmer and B&B owner from Derbyshire. In March 2010 Ruth started to experience severe allergic reactions to plants and became lethargic. Ruth visited her GP, who referred her for tests, which revealed she had leukaemia.

“It was a shock for my entire family – I’m an optimistic and active person, who was raising a teenage daughter with my husband. I hadn’t felt ‘ill’. I felt tired, but to be told I had leukaemia was overwhelming. I received four rounds of chemotherapy which didn’t work very well. My doctor recommended I receive antibody therapy and in March 2011 I was well enough to receive a stem cell transplant. The antibody therapy worked well, which meant that I was well at the time – 100% clear of cancer. However, I was told that I had a 50/50 chance of recovering after my transplant – which was very stark.”

When Ruth received her stem cell transplant, she agreed to join Anthony Nolan’s Patient/Donor project, a long-term study revolutionising the way that patients and donors are matched.

“I was told that Anthony Nolan had found three potential donors. I was lucky because of my background. My donor was a 12/12 match which I was told was the best possible.”

Most clinicians would not look beyond the current 10/10 gold standard for donor selection. Ruth was lucky that her transplant centre did, improving the chances of her transplant being successful. Alternative matching methods not currently considered in donor selection could be key to improving transplant outcomes and reducing the risk of post-transplant complications for more patients like Ruth.

“My donor – whoever it is – is wonderful. I think about him every now and again because there are a few things that have changed for me after my transplant. I now have a tuna allergy. And, before my transplant I couldn’t eat shellfish – I can now.! It’s been eight years since my transplant, and I’ve not had many problems. I wanted to be part of the Patient/Donor study because I hope the findings will enable more people to be as lucky as I have been.”

Thank you so much! Together we can save lives

For further information, or to ask questions, please do get in touch with Teresa, our membership co-ordinator, at teresa@circlesq.co, or visit
Supporter Care
020 7424 6626