Karen Clarke-Taylor, a Councillor for the Oxhey ward, is set to participate in the London Marathon on April 23rd, raising money for the Anthony Nolan charity. The charity works to match patients in need of life-saving stem cell transplants with willing donors, primarily those suffering from blood cancer and diseases such as leukaemia and aplastic anaemia.
“Just before Christmas in 2015, my husband (Paul) received a call from Anthony Nolan to say that he had been identified as a possible match for somebody who needed a stem cell transplant. The match was confirmed and in March 2016 he donated 3.6 million stem cells to a lady whose identity we don’t know; to put a name to the story we call her Sarah. A few months later he was contacted to say that Sarah needed a top-up donation, which he gave in October 2016.”
Karen and her husband, Paul, have a personal connection to the cause. In 2016, Paul donated his own stem cells to a stranger, but unfortunately the recipient passed away a year later due to complications after the transplant. This tragic event inspired the couple to raise funds for Anthony Nolan in her memory, with the hope that their efforts might help more people in need of transplants in the future.
“Although the transplant wasn’t the lifesaving treatment that we had hoped it would be for Sarah, there are many other people whose lives have been and will be saved by transplants arranged through Anthony Nolan. One of those people is my friend Hannah, who was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly after graduating from university in 2012. Anthony Nolan matched her with a generous young man who also went on to donate his stem cells for a transplant as well as giving a top-up of his cells a few months later. Thankfully, the transplant was successful and Hannah has gone to raise awareness of stem cell donation through her amazing journalism (www.hannahpartos.com).”
Throughout 2023, Karen will participate in both the London Marathon and the Swim Serpentine, while Paul will cycle in the 100 mile RideLondon event, all in memory of the woman who received Paul’s donation and to celebrate the life of Hannah. Through these challenges, the couple hopes to raise funds that will enable Anthony Nolan to continue its crucial work of connecting critically ill individuals with potential stem cell donors.
In addition to their personal connection to the charity, Karen and Paul are also riding in memory of a dear family friend, Simon, who received a stem cell transplant through Anthony Nolan after being diagnosed with lymphoma. Though unfortunately, the transplant was not successful, Simon’s impact on those around him has left a lasting impression, and he is deeply missed by all who knew him.
To download a copy of the TCS London Marathon route map, click here.
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