Lewes Great North runner nominated for national charity award

Naomi Ayers, 47, has been shortlisted for the Everyday Hero award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2021 for fundraising over £18,000 following a stem cell transplant to treat blood cancer.

Naomi said: “I’m so humbled at the support and still can’t really believe how much I’ve raised so far. This isn’t the end though; I have a few fundraising ideas for the future and will continue to support AN in recognition the difference they have made to my life.”

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The Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of the volunteers, fundraisers, clinical supporters and donors who help the blood cancer charity save lives.

Naomi Ayers, 47, has been shortlisted for the Everyday Hero award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2021

The awards, which are in their eighth year, have seen hundreds of people honoured for making the charity’s work possible.

Celebrity winners have included Oscar winning actor Olivia Colman, reality star Bobby Norris and Olympic medallist Chris Newton.

At 44 years old, Naomi was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome – a rare form of blood cancer. Through Anthony Nolan, she received a successful stem cell transplant, from a matching stem cell donor in 2019.

In January 2020, to coincided with her two -year transplant anniversary, Noami decided to fulfil her wish of running for the 2020 Great North Run, but was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid.

Instead, she organised the ‘24 for 24’ virtual fundraising challenge, which involved running 24 miles in January, one mile for each month of health she’d experienced post-transplant.

Naomi eventually completed the 2021 Great North Run in September last year.

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “It is remarkable to see how many people support our work to find a match for those in need of a stem cell transplant. Without them, none of our life-saving work would be possible.

Congratulations Naomi, your commitment to making a difference to others who are going through a similar situation to yours, has allowed many more families to stay together.”

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.