Actress and mum ‘honoured’ by prize for cancer charity work

Croydon-based actress Kellie Shirley has won plaudits in the past for her work on TV and in films, but she’s now picked up an award from the Anthony Nolan Trust for helping to promote the charity’s cause, with a series of television appearances and media interviews after she donated her baby’s cord.

Red carpet: Kellie Shirley is used to award ceremonies for her acting

The former EastEnders actress – she played Carly Wicks – won the High-Profile Supporter of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards for what the charity describes as “her incredible ambassadorship, raising awareness around the invaluable uses of cord blood in blood cancer treatment and research”.

Over the past 12 months, Shirley appeared on Steph’s Packed Lunch, Sunday Brunch, Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky News and the popular podcast Made by Mamas as well as featuring in Metro, and OK! magazines talking all about her experience of being a cord donor.

The charity says, “The national profile driven by Kellie has had a positive impact on Anthony Nolan’s cord donation programme and inspired scores of expectant mums to follow in her footsteps.”

Shirley was among a number of award-winners at a presentation event held at the Tower of London who were celebrated for raising thousands of pounds for the charity or raising awareness of stem cell donation.

Shirley has been an ambassador for Anthony Nolan since 2008 when she ran the London Marathon for the blood cancer charity.

In 2015, she gave birth to twins and donated the cord blood to Anthony Nolan saying: “When I was pregnant with my twins, I knew straight away I wanted to donate my cord blood.

“Cord blood donation is unique because the stem cells can develop to suit the patient, which means they don’t have to be an exact match.

“It is such a simple process. Shortly after I’d given birth, a specially trained midwife came into the room and collected the placenta and the cord and that was it.”

There are five hospitals, including King’s College and St George’s in south London, that have partnered with Anthony Nolan allowing for cord blood to be collected.

“I feel honoured,” Shirley said of her award.

Honoured: Shirley, and baby, get their award from Anthony Nolan Trust’s Henny BRaund

“I love this charity and I am inspired daily by the people associated with it who are fighting cancer together.

“I have met so many inspirational people. Without Anthony Nolan, thousands of people wouldn’t have a second chance. Please sign up to the register and you can potentially save someone’s life, too.”

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Kellie is a hugely deserving winner of this award; her incredible support and passion for our work is a fantastic example of our charity, which is built on making lifesaving connections. I continue to find myself inspired and humbled by the dedication and strength of supporters like her.

“By raising vital funds and much-needed awareness, we are curing blood cancer together. We can give families hope and give more people a future.”

Find out more about the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards by clicking here.

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