Volunteer On Call Firefighter is 100th donor in SFRS Partnership with Anthony Nolan
A volunteer on call firefighter has become the 100th donor in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s charity partnership with Anthony Nolan.
Cameron Carmichael became the milestone number when he donated his stem cells to help save someone’s life.
The volunteer on call firefighter is based at Kilmelford Community Fire Station near Oban where he’s served for around 11 months.
Cameron, 20, who signed up to the blood cancer charity’s stem cell register when he was 16, was surprised to discover he was a match for someone in need, and the 100th donor.
He said: “It took a few days for it to sink in and to realise how much of an impact I could have on someone and their family.
“I also did not expect to be the 100th donor. It’s an amazing feeling to have donated my stem cells and helped someone - but to also see the partnership reach that number - just feels really special.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) charity partnership with Anthony Nolan sees the SFRS visit secondary schools to hold information events. Pupils learn how they can support the charity’s lifesaving work by joining the stem cell register.
It’s a partnership that leaves an impact – it even reaches through classroom windows.
When the SFRS presentation was taking place at Oban High School, Cameron’s year group were too young, as pupils need to be 16 to join the register. Cameron however noticed something going on. Curious, he stopped and peered through the classroom windows watching what was taking place.
What he saw inspired him, and he joined the stem cell register as soon as he could when he turned 16. The SFRS/Anthony Nolan online registration process is an option open to everyone.
He said: “I should probably have been in class but I just stopped and watched through the window. I had never heard of Anthony Nolan and I decided to sign up when I was old enough.
“I joined the register because by doing so, you can help someone who is in need. For all the time it takes you, you could add so much more into someone’s life.”
In March, Cameron became the 100th person inspired by SFRS to donate their stem cells for a patient in need of a transplant.
He said: “The process of donating was really easy. You just get a few blood samples taken before donating to check you are the best possible match, then the donation goes ahead. The staff are really welcoming and do everything they can to help you through the process.”
The SFRS partnership with the charity was formed in 2009 after then Area Commander Ally Boyle had been diagnosed with Myelodysplasia, a blood cancer for which the only potential cure is a stem cell transplant. The partnership has seen 19,000+ potential donors recruited to the register.
Ally Boyle MBE said: “Wow! To see us get to the point that we have had 100 potentially lifesaving donations is mind-blowing and entirely down to the dedication and enthusiastic support of our volunteers and our school partners. As someone who will one day need a stranger to save my life, I’m acutely aware of how special Cameron and all our other donors are. It is an amazing thing to step forward to save the life of someone you have never met. This is in the finest traditions of the SFRS and is the reason I proposed the partnership in the first place.
Henny Braund MBE, Chief Executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “We are thrilled that the lifesavers at SFRS have reached this extraordinary milestone. These 100 SFRS donors mean that 100 people have been offered a second chance at life since our partnership was established. We are incredibly grateful to the team at SFRS, who volunteer their free time to amplify our cause and recruit young people across Scotland.”
As a volunteer on call firefighter Cameron helps to protect his local community. He also has the support of his employer Kames Fish Farming in Kilmelford, where he’s worked for over two years.
He said: “The company I work for have an ethos of helping their local community and they are happy for me to be a volunteer on call firefighter. They know it’s an important role in the community.”
The station is crewed by six volunteers and being a small community, Cameron already knew everyone on the watch. It was another volunteer on call firefighter who gave Cameron a leaflet about joining SFRS which prompted him to apply.
He said: “I’d actually been thinking about joining for a while. I think it’s brilliant to be able to do all of this, you learn a lot of skills and you’re there to help people in the community when they need you.
“I was actually away doing a breathing apparatus training course when I got the email from Anthony Nolan to say I was a match. Everything has just linked in and fallen into place.”
About Anthony Nolan
Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer. The charity uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer and blood disorder patients in need of stem cell transplants. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success and supports patients through their transplant journeys. Everyday Anthony Nolan gives three people a second chance at life.
More at www.anthonynolan.org/sfrs
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