A student from Nottingham has been honoured by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, at an awards ceremony held at the Tower of London on Thursday.
Jesse Lewendon took home the Simon Dyson Volunteer of the Year Award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2019.
The prestigious Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards were back for their seventh year to recognise the outstanding achievements of the volunteers, fundraisers, and campaigners who help the pioneering blood cancer charity save lives.
The award was presented in recognition of Jesse’s incredible work as president of Nottingham Marrow, leading the group to achieve its most successful year to date. Nottingham University is one of more than 50 universities with a ‘Marrow’ society, the name given to blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan’s network of student volunteer groups.
Jesse played a pivotal role in recruiting almost 1,500 potentially life-saving stem cell donors to the charity’s register, hosting the 20th Anniversary Marrow Conference, and raising nearly £3,000 through a variety of events. Jesse has also trained new volunteers, galvanised a range of supporters, including Nottingham council, and been a powerful representative of Anthony Nolan in two BBC television interviews which aired across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
“Getting involved in Marrow made me see how you can have such a big impact on people’s lives and actually make a difference.” Said Jesse.
“I was very involved in a campaign to help find a young girl from Nottingham, called Lilya, a stem cell match. A very special moment was when her family got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to meet her. She sadly passed away before I got the chance to, but it had a huge impact on me and made me want to keep going”.
As president, Jesse led the group to triple the number of people they have recruited as potential life-savers and has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the need for more stem cell donors on the register, across both the university and city. He has since graduated with a degree in Bio Chemistry and is now undertaking an internship at the charity.
On winning the award, Jesse said: “Being part of Nottingham Marrow has been absolutely amazing and receiving this award means that Lilya’s legacy continues to live on, within Nottingham Marrow and the other Marrow groups I’ve been able to support”.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “Jesse is a hugely deserving winner of this award; his incredible support and passion for our work is a fantastic example of our charity, which is built on making lifesaving connections. It was lovely to meet Jesse and I continue to find myself inspired and humbled by the dedication and strength of supporters like him.
“By recruiting potential donors, raising vital funds and raising much needed awareness, we are curing blood cancer together. We can give families hope, and give more people a future. But without supporters like Jesse, lives can’t be saved. Without him, there is no cure.”
The awards took place on Thursday 28 November at the Tower of London.
Anthony Nolan is the charity that finds matching stem cell donors for people with blood cancer and blood disorders and gives them a second chance at life. It also carries out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists, who help guide patients through their recovery.
To see the full list of winners, and find out more about the charity visit www.anthonynolan.org/awards