Two campaigners have been nominated for an award after raising awareness of the need for more south Asian donors to join a stem cell register.

Northwood parents Pankaj Anand and Shrijal Patel have been shortlisted for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Advocate of the Year Award after supporting the blood cancer charity, Anthony Nolan.

Pankaj and Shrijal were moved to back the charity after learning about Kaiya Patel, a six-year-old girl from Loudwater diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - a rare and aggressive type of cancer affecting the bone marrow.

The pair, who both have daughters in Kaiya’s class, will be recognised at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards at the Tower of London on November 22.

Pankaj Anand (left) and Shrijal Patel

Kaiya’s parents, Ruchit and Annu Patel, told the Watford Observer in May their daughter’s chance for a successful transplant was “not good” because “people of an ethnically Asian background tend to have 30 % or lower chance of finding a match”.

Inspired, Pankaj arranged an awareness and donor recruitment event at his workplace in which 40 potential donors joined the register.

Pankaj and Shrijal also organised recruitment events at City University, worked with parents from Kaiya’s school and held a stall at an Asian music event at Wembley Arena, Diljit Dosanjh.

Learning of the nomination, Shrijal Patel said: “It made me quite emotional to think that the effort and hard work we put in was recognised by people in such an outstanding charity.

“Until my friend's daughter sadly got diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year for which she urgently needed a stem cell transplant, I was not aware of the specific need for more donors from Asian, and other minority backgrounds.

“As soon as we learnt this, we started working with Anthony Nolan to see if we could target young people from a range of backgrounds, aged 16-30 to sign up to the register.”

Anthony Nolan chief executive Henny Braund congratulated the pair, adding: “We’re incredibly lucky to have so many people supporting Anthony Nolan’s vital work to find a match for everyone in need of a lifesaving transplant.”

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