On 2 December 2021, Anthony Nolan would’ve celebrated his 50th birthday. Tragically, Anthony never found the matching donor he needed and he died when he was just seven years old. But since his mum Shirley launched the world’s first stem cell register in 1974, Anthony’s story has given the hope of a lifesaving transplant to thousands of people with blood cancer or a blood disorder.
To mark Anthony’s 50th birthday, we’re celebrating his legacy and the incredible progress Shirley brought to the way blood cancer and blood disorders are treated.
Below, you can see some of the inspiring stories and achievements that wouldn’t have happened #WithoutAnthony.
1974: The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register is established: the first of its kind. Today, it’s helped 22,000 people receive a lifesaving transplant. Before this, finding an unrelated stem cell donor was virtually impossible.
1993: Building of the Anthony Nolan Research Institute begins. Today, it's driving ground-breaking research to reduce transplant complications and improve quality of life after transplant.
1994 & 1995: The Anthony Nolan register helps its 1,000th patient, matching them with an anonymous donor for the second chance of life that Shirley believed everyone deserved.
2008: Anthony Nolan sets up the UK’s first dedicated cord blood bank enabling 62,000 new mothers to follow in Shirley’s lifesaving footsteps, donating their umbilical cords for transplant and research
2020: The 800,000th person joined the stem cell register, taking Shirley’s vision to inspiring new heights. Bring on the million!
Saving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders
Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between people with blood cancer and blood disorders and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells. We’re saving lives right now. Three lives a day, in fact.
For someone with blood cancer, a stem cell transplant could be their last chance of survival. And for that person, their family, and their friends, they might be waiting for a stranger to give them a second chance of life.
By growing the stem cell register, carrying out ground-breaking research and providing the best post-transplant care, Anthony Nolan gives families a future.
Founded in 1974 as the world’s first stem cell register, we’re motivated by a mother’s determination to save her son, Anthony. Although he never had his second chance of life, thousands of lives have been saved by an ever-growing stem cell register and ongoing research, thanks to Shirley and Anthony. Their legacy is lifesaving.