TAUNTON woman Samantha Safe has been praised for her charity work after her husband’s battle with myeloid leukaemia.

Samantha was highly commended alongside family and friends at the Anthony Nolan Supporters Awards for dedication to raising funds and awareness.

The 48-year-old was commended in the Group Fundraiser of the Year category.

Samantha said: “We all felt so privileged to be there and are truly thankful for the recognition for all the hard work we have put in.

“Listening to other people’s stories has inspired us to continue in what we do for Anthony Nolan and to push even harder to raise awareness.”

Samantha’s husband, Simon, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in July 2014 and was told by doctors that a stem-cell transplant was his best chance for survival. After a search for a donor with the correct tissue type Simon, who was treated in Bristol, had his transplant in November 2014.

He is now in remission.

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Simon received his transplant, his second of chance of life, in November 2014 and is now, as Samantha says, getting back to ‘normal’.

During Simon’s treatment, Samantha and her daughter Amy had spoken of fundraising for Anthony Nolan and Amy, was keen to get started as soon as Anthony Nolan started looking for a donor.

Samantha said:  “Within days of him being diagnosed and us not really knowing the severity at that point my daughter had already said to me that we need to do some fundraising. I understood Amy’s enthusiasm, but we didn’t quite know what was happening at the time.

“Our first fundraising challenge was our local half marathon in April 2015. We took up running that winter; I’d done a couple of 5Ks but nothing serious. It was tough, but raising money for what we were going through helped us to get through it.”

Samantha and her daughter went one step further – and took on the Virgin Money London Marathon in April 2016. To help raise money they organised a grand ball and, between them, raised more than £10,000. Samantha and Amy couldn’t have raised this much money without the help of their friend Heather Mill, who worked immensely hard collecting auction and raffle prizes.

Last year Samantha passed the baton to two of her friends, Lisa Brown and Jenny Sanderson who ran the London Marathon and helped them in making their second ball a big success raising nearly £12,000. After saying she’d never do it again, Samantha has now signed up to the London Marathon in 2018 and will be holding the third annual charity ball to raise money ahead of the event.

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Samantha uses her fundraising events to educate others and encourage them to join Anthony Nolan’s stem cell register.

She said: “I sometimes say ‘I don’t want you to give money, just sign up to the register or encourage someone else to do it’. Being able to raise awareness and get people on the register means so much more to me.”

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journey.

Henny Braund, chief executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “We were incredibly proud to celebrate Samantha with other winners and nominees at this year’s Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards. Between them they have raised vital funds, recruited the lifesavers of the future, shared stories to generate awareness, campaigned for change in Parliament and volunteered countless hours to make it all happen.

“Samantha and her family and friends are incredible, passionate supporters and we’re delighted they are being recognised for all of the hard work they have all put into supporting Anthony Nolan.”