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photo of Professor Steve Rothberg and wife Gillian Adams pictured with commendation certificate

4 Jan 2019

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research recognised for charity work with commendation

Loughborough University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research has been commended on his efforts to support a charity dedicated to saving the lives of people with blood cancer who need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Professor Steve Rothberg and his wife Gillian Adams have had their hard work and dedication to Anthony Nolan acknowledged as they received a commendation after being nominated for the Shirley Nolan Award for Special Recognition.

The Award, which is named after the founder of the charity, recognises those who have significantly contributed to help the organisation.

Professor Rothberg received a stem cell transplant in 2010 after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, and since then both he and Gillian have actively advocated to support patients and raise vital funds to help with the ongoing recruitment of donors.

In March 2017, the University hosted Spit Happens; Professor Rothberg was heavily involved in the event which saw more than 2,056 eligible donors join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. 

Multiple registration sites were set up across the campus where individuals aged 16-30 completed a short form and provided a saliva sample. This smashed a previous national record of 1,404 sign-ups in one day for the charity.

photo of Professor Steve Rothberg in Students' Union with Spit Happens screen displayed behind him

Gillian is a member of the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, supporting patients and their families in securing funding for second allogeneic transports.

She is also Vice Chair of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation Patient Committee and through this has developed connections between patient groups in Europe and Anthony Nolan.

Together, Steve and Gillian raised over £1,300 last year by completing the Course Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau - a half marathon which also celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Professor Rothberg previously said of the charity: “None of us likes to think that we might suffer a serious illness like blood cancer but that’s exactly what happened to me.

“Anthony Nolan found me a donor. They saved my life. They did the same for my friend Rik Basra [founder of Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign, who also supported Spit Happens].

“We are both grateful beyond words that our donors, both strangers, gave this incredible gift to save our lives.”

Professor Rothberg and Gillian received the commendation at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards (ANSAs), which took place last year at the Tower of London. Gillian said they were “thrilled” to receive the commendation.

More information about the awards can be found on the Anthony Nolan website.