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This is how we got started

Originally started in mid 2005 as Yvette Gate's Bone Marrow Campaign as the response of Yvette’s family to her life threatening illness, and being told that her only hope is to have a bone marrow transplant.  With the support of a small group of friends in Bristol, England we immediately went about campaigning to encourage members of the black and mixed race community to come forward and register as potential bone marrow donors.  One of the first things that we did was to learn how to build a website as an easily accessible central source of information.  This is the result, well the third site actually, which we try to improve as time goes by. 


With the invaluable support of the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) we organized our first Bone Marrow Registration Clinic in Bristol.  This took part as part of the Emancipation Day event held at the Mill Youth Centre in Easton, on 31 July 2005.  In the weeks prior to that we constructed a stall (from a pasting table and some bits of wood), made posters and leaflets and tried to take our message to the people of Bristol.  We campaigned at St Paul's Carnival, Ashton Court Festival and the Bristol Harbour Festival.  New skills had to be learned as we ventured into the public eye for the first time.    How to deal with interviews, TV and radio appearances.  The worst are the live ones as they leave no margin for error.  We received tremendous support and encouragement from local media organisations in our new adventures.  Without this we would have probably fallen flat on our faces. 


That first clinic registered 69 new potential donors onto the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register.  This was an encouragement to us and we were completely exhausted afterwards.  The next clinic on September 24 was held at the St Pauls Learning and Family Centre in St Pauls.  Despite a high profile campaign in the run up to the clinic only 40 people registered on the day.  Although each of those people may represent hope to a sufferer, we were disappointed with the turnout.  More clinics followed as we worked with both the ACLT and the Anthony Nolan Trust to raise awareness and recruit more potential donors.


What started as a desperate effort to help little Yvette, had developed into a Campaign aimed at informing people of bone marrow related illnesses and the urgent need for more potential donors.  Working with different groups in the Bristol community and beyond we worked tirelessly to raise the profile of this little talked about issue.  As time goes forward we continue to develop and spread the Campaign.  The one aim - to save lives!


In 2006 we saw the need to become more organised and established the Yvette Gate Bone Marrow Campaign as a charitable trust.  In December 2006 we were registered as a charity by the Charity Commission.


Reflecting on the period that have passed since June 2005 we realise how far we have come.  More people are being informed about bone marrow, more people are joining the bone marrow register and more donors are being found.  And the best part of it all - lives are being saved.  People have been given a chance that they did not have previously. 


In 2009 the Campaign took on the new name Race Against Time.  This is to convey the urgency of the issue but also to remove any idea that it is about one person - it is not.  As we continue to develop and evolve our aim remains the same: RAISING AWARENESS & SAVING LIVES.


Without the support of so many people and organisations we would not have come this far.  There are too many names to mention here and there is always the risk of missing someone off a list.  But you know who you are!  Thank you for your continuing support.


   

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Website designed and maintained by David Gate.