Wrexham hospital matron Linda raises money to end stem cell lottery

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A hospital matron was inspired to launch a fund-raising campaign by the daughter of a close friend who had a life-saving stem cell transplant.

Linda Jones, who works at the private Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham, was touched by the plight of Zoe Porter, 24, who is battling chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

Spire Yale fund raising event in aid od the Anthony Nolan Trust at the Railway Club, Wrexham. Matron Linda Jones with her friends Tim Porter and Linda Walton whose daughter Zoe has Leukaemia

The transplant was a success and she’s now planning to get married in September.

Her dad, Tim Porter, and his partner, Linda Walton, travelled from their home in Plymouth to be guests of honour at the madcap bingo night at Wrexham’s Railway Club.

The chaotic version of the classic game of house which features rave intervals, dance-offs and quirky prizes is the latest craze sweeping the UK.

Linda and her hospital colleagues raised more than £1,000 for the blood cancer charity, the Anthony Nolan Trust.

She explained: “My husband Peter, who is a porter at Spire Yale, and I met Tim and Linda when we were on holiday in Turkey and since then we have become firm friends and meet up every so often.

“I was deeply touched by the fact Tim’s daughter, Zoe, has had to recently have a bone marrow transplant as she suffered from a form of leukaemia.

Zoe Porter, who is battling chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

“Tim and Linda told us all about Zoe’s battle with blood cancer and it was so inspiring I just knew I wanted to do something to help. You don’t need to know someone to be inspired by their story and courage. Peter, my husband and I just wanted to help.

“At Spire Yale Hospital we try to support a range of charities and good causes as often as we can and decided we should raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust which is all about helping people who have blood cancers.

“Everyone at Spire Yale has been so supportive and Heidi Parker-Jones, our business development manager, has got local companies involved and we have had some great raffle and bingo prizes donated.

“Lots of staff members have come along to support the event and join in the fundraising. We have had a fantastic night and we are still getting money in but we know we have raised more than our £1,000 target.”

Tim said: “We are so grateful to Linda, Peter and their colleagues for raising money for this vitally important charity.

“Zoe had the stem cell transplant a few weeks ago and is doing extremely well.

“We aren’t allowed to know the identity of the donor at this stage but we do know the stem cells were harvested from him, we do know it was from a male donor, at a Cardiff hospital so the chances are the donor is Welsh.”

He added: “There is no doubt the Anthony Nolan Trust and the modern technology they have available has saved my daughter and I couldn’t be more grateful.

“For Linda, Peter and the staff of Spire Yale Hospital here in Wrexham to hold a fundraising night for the charity in support of my daughter is remarkable and I couldn’t be more pleased. It really is very humbling.

“Zoe is currently a swimming teacher but will shortly start a business studies apprenticeship with Babcock Marine, a specialist engineering company in Plymouth which is where I work as a mechanical engineer and her partner, Alan works as a mechanical fitter.

“Zoe and Alan are getting married next month. She has done so well since having her stem cell transplant and her oncologists are really pleased with her progress.”

Linda was also blown away by generosity of the Spire Yale team.

She said: “It’s fantastic. The Anthony Nolan Trust does such good work and there is no doubt Zoe wouldn’t be with us without a stem cell transplant. It’s a wonderful charity and needs all the support it can get.”

“I’m sure Zoe, who plans on getting married in September, will make a trip to Wrexham from Plymouth in the future to thank people herself.”

Business development manager Heidi Parker-Jones said: “We have had some amazing raffle prizes donated and the support of local companies has been great as it always is.

“It’s been lovely meeting Tim and Linda and hearing more about Zoe’s fight with blood cancer and her stem cell transplant.”

“It really was a wonderful and well supported event. We are still getting donations in but we know we have smashed the £1,000 barrier which was our target. Everyone had a fantastic evening and the madcap bingo went down really well.”

To support Linda’s fundraising effort, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/linda-jones391 to donate.