West Hill teen shortlisted for Anthony Nolan award

George Stafford has been nominated for a national award. He and friend Harry Symons at the Marrow AG

George Stafford has been nominated for a national award. He and friend Harry Symons at the Marrow AGM earlier this year. - Credit: Archant

A teenager, who became a bone marrow donor and campaigner when his two best friends were diagnosed with cancer, has been shortlisted for a national award.

George Stafford, 19, of Bendarroch Road, West Hill, is in the running to be named a donor champion of the year at the Antony Nolan Supporter Awards, writes Clarissa Place.

He has been recognised for ‘going above and beyond’ for the blood cancer charity and wants to get even more involved by encouraging men aged between 19 and 25 to sign up to the donors’ register.

His friends Harry Symons and Aidan Clarke were diagnosed months apart with different cancers when George was 14. Both survived following treatment. A former student at The King’s School, George was spurred on to sign up to the register aged 16 after Aidan was saved by a bone marrow transplant.

George said he felt humbled to be shortlisted for the award, adding: “When you are 14 it’s not something you expect your friend - let alone two friends - to get. My best mate, Aidan, is only alive today because a stranger was willing to donate stem cells, so it feels amazing for me to be able to save a life too. It’s such a special experience - it’s only natural that I’d want to share that story with as many people as possible.”

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George gave his first bone marrow donation in February and also gave a speech to members of Marrow, Anthony Nolan’s student branch, at its annual general meeting earlier this year. The Nottingham Trent University student said: “We need young men aged 19 - 25 to sign up. We have the strongest bone marrow at this time in our lives. For me, the fact you could potentially save someone’s life is one of the best feelings that you are ever going to feel.”

He hopes to get more involved with Marrow and to visit The King’s School to speak to sixth formers.

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Henny Braund, chief executive at Anthony Nolan, the UK’s blood cancer charity, said: “George is an incredible supporter of the charity and we’re delighted that he has been shortlisted for this award. His story is really very remarkable and the openness with which he’s shared has really highlighted the importance of stem cell transplants.”

Winners will be announced on November 22 in the House of Commons.

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