Two campaigners have won an award after raising awareness of the need for more south Asian donors to join a stem cell register.

Pankaj Anand and Shrijal Patel from Northwood scooped the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Advocate Award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards.

The pair were recognised during a ceremony at the Tower of London on November 22 after supporting the blood cancer charity.

They were presented with the award by journalist and writer Lucy Siegle.

Pankaj and Shrijal were inspired to support Anthony Nolan after hearing about Kaiya Patel, a six-year-old girl from Rickmansworth diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - a rare and aggressive type of cancer affecting the bone marrow.

Kaiya and little sister, Annika


Kaiya’s parents, Annu and Ruchit launched the #CureKaiya campaign to find the six-year-old a stem cell donor because just 20 per cent of patients from Asian or other ethnic minority backgrounds will find the best possible match, compared to 69 per cent of northern European patients.

Pankaj and Shrijal, who both have daughters in Kaiya’s class, boosted awareness by organising recruitment events at City University, working with parents from Kaiya’s school and holding a stall at an Asian music event at Wembley Arena.

Pankaj also arranged a donor recruitment event at his workplace in which 40 potential donors joined the register.

Upon receiving the award, Pankaj said: “I felt really proud to have had our efforts of increasing the awareness of the shortage of stem cell donors with people from BAME backgrounds acknowledged.

“For some reason, the message hasn’t really landed within Asian and Black communities, so it’s been overwhelming to see so many people step forward and actively register to be potential donors.”

Pankaj and Shrijal


Shrijal added: “Each person has been moved and humbled by the amazing courage of this very special little girl.

“Kaiya and her family have touched the hearts of many and raised unprecedented awareness globally in the BAME community, which will save many lives going forward.”

Henny Braund, chief executive at Anthony Nolan praised the “extraordinary support” from Pankaj and Shrijal, adding: “We are incredibly proud of all the other winners and nominees at this year’s Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards. They have all gone above and beyond in their commitment to the charity.”

For more information, go to


Anthony Nolan Stem Cell registration page