The society is Scotland’s largest independent co-operative and includes brands Semichem, Lakes & Dales Co-operative and Scotmid Co-operative Funeral Directors, who will all be involved in the fundraising.
Catherine Miles, director of fundraising at Anthony Nolan, said: “The money Scotmid raises this year will help us save lives by adding 2,000 new potential donors to our bone marrow register from Scotmid’s retail areas – Scotland, North of England and Northern Ireland. These will be 2,000 people who could be the only lifesaving match for someone with blood cancer – someone who would otherwise have no other chance to live.”
Malcolm Brown, head of corporate communications for Scotmid, said the partnership is not just about raising money, but also about raising awareness.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside Anthony Nolan in the year they celebrate four decades of saving lives,” he said. “Anthony Nolan’s vital work to find matching donors for people with blood cancer is already resonating with our staff and customers.”
“We’re sure that ‘The Scotmid Lifesavers’ can help Anthony Nolan to grow its lifesaving register and carry out world-class research into blood cancer at a crucial time in the charity’s history. This is set to be another exceptional charity partner for the Scotmid family.”
The partnership was officially launched on 1 September at Scotmid’s Portobello store in Edinburgh. Scotmid employees dressed up in “Scotmid Lifesavers” capes to show their support for the lifesaving collaboration.
Throughout the year, blood cancer survivors and donors local to Scotmid areas will join fundraising events and feature in publicity.
Ally Boyle, a retired firefighter from South Lanarkshire, is one patient in need of a bone marrow transplant because he has myelodysplastic syndrome.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership, he said: “I am delighted that Scotmid is supporting Anthony Nolan this year. It is a fantastic charity that offers a lifeline to ordinary people like me. I used to fight fires for a living but to me, the people who keep Anthony Nolan going by raising money and awareness are everyday heroes.”
Around 2,000 people in the UK need a match each year. The charity manages and recruits donor to the Anthony Nolan register, which currently includes more than 500,000 potential donors. It was set up in 1974 as the by Shirley Nolan, whose son Anthony needed a bone marrow transplant.
Broadcaster and writer Hardeep Singh Kohli, who shops at Scotmid, is supporting the campaign and took part in the launch.
He said: “As an Anthony Nolan supporter and a Scotmid customer I am keen to support this partnership. Bizarrely, when the team at Anthony Nolan called me to ask me to get involved, I was actually doing some shopping in Scotmid! I am sure this partnership will make a life-changing difference for people with blood cancer, and I am glad Scotmid is supporting such a worthwhile cause.”
This is not the first time Scotmid is supporting cancer charities. Last year, Scotmid raised more £265,000 for Prostate Cancer UK while in 2012-2013 its partnership with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres brought in £260,000.