Employees at EDF Energy in Sunderland have come together to raise awareness of stem cell donation while backing the #AHeroForChloe campaign.
Over 100 employees at the Doxford International Park-based customer service centre signed up to the stem cell register to try and find a stem cell match for seven-year-old Chloe Gray, who has Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, an incredibly rare blood disorder.
Her condition means that her body doesn’t produce red blood cells and as a result, she has undergone 100+ blood transfusions. Chloe has recently developed antibodies in her blood and now urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant. Despite a global search, sadly a matching donor has not yet been found.
As well as 120 signing up to the stem cell register, employees also raised £659.47 for international charity DKMS.
The drive was organised on behalf of Francesca Bowser, Chloe’s mum, by Stacey Murray, a cultural alignment executive at EDF Energy, Doxford.
She said: “I wanted to get involved in the hero for Chloe campaign as she is a local girl and unfortunately, as no match has been found for her yet, she often has long hospital stays and has to undergo blood transfusions every few weeks. She is only young and should have the opportunity to live life to the full.
“The team at Doxford love getting involved with local causes and fundraising activities, so I knew many people would be willing to help. The day was a great success, which not only raised awareness of stem cell donation and just how easy it is to become a donor, but also Chloe’s campaign to find a matching donor.”
Kevin Gatens, head of customer service at EDF Energy Doxford, said: “Employees at Doxford regularly fundraise, both for our charity partner and for local causes. The drive was an opportunity for us to do something a bit different while also raising awareness of a local cause, which is very deserving of support.
“It was great to see so many people willing to get involved in the campaign and learn about the work that DKMS does to help people that need a stem cell transplant.”
In order to organise the drive, Stacey enlisted the help of Porsha Nunes-Brown, a donor recruitment nurse for DKMS. By teaming up with DKMS, employees were able to do a swab on the day to see if they were a match for Chloe or anyone else on the stem cell register.
Porsha Nunes-Brown, Donor Recruitment Manager at DKMS said: “Chloe is often in and out of the hospital and desperately needs a blood stem cell transplant. We have been working with Chloe’s family for several months but unfortunately a matching donor has not yet been found.
“Every 14 minutes someone in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or a related disorder. Many people never find the lifesaving blood stem cell donor match they need. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors.
“Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor is so easy to do, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is. It could lead to you saving a life. If you are aged between 17-55 years old, please register as a potential lifesaver at www.dkms.org/chloe.“
As well as supporting the hero for Chloe campaign, employees at EDF Energy Doxford regularly support charitable causes, including local fundraisers and working with its official charity partner Breast Cancer Now.