The family of Margot Martini who lost her battle with Leukaemia last year, have set up a charity in her name to help raise awareness of how people can register their stem cells, save lives and give people more time with their loved-ones.
In 2013, 14-month-old Margot Martini was diagnosed with blood cancer and required a bone marrow transplant (also known as a stem cell transplant) to stand the best chance of survival. Family and friends came together as Team Margot to raise awareness of Margot’s plight and others desperately seeking a blood stem cell donor match. Margot eventually found a suitable donor match and received her bone marrow transplant in February 2014. Unfortunately, Margot’s Leukaemia was extremely aggressive. She relapsed during that summer and passed away, aged 2 years and 2 months, on the 27 October 2014.
The newly-registered charity, officially called ‘Team Margot Foundation’, is dedicated to encouraging people to register as stem cell donors as well as supporting people and projects, charities and research related, to bone marrow / stem cell transplants, blood disorders like Leukaemia. The charity will also reach-out to those caring for child cancer patients and, where possible, help along what is inevitably an emotional rollercoaster and tragic time in people’s lives.
Commenting, Yaser, Margot’s father, said: As a family we have taken strength from putting our efforts, both physical and emotional, behind the Team Margot Foundation. As hard as it is, particularly when Margot’s passing is still so raw for us all, it’s important that we focus on celebrating her life, celebrating the level of awareness about this terrible illness Margot generated and most importantly, celebrating the number of lives this on-going campaign will save. Early estimates suggest that during our search for a donor for Margot we added over 35,000 people to the stem cell register and raised over £275,000 for Leukaemia related research & charities. This was in large part thanks to the benevolence of those in the trade, particularly the Bridge Walk 2014. The last gathering of this bi-annual charity fundraiser event, was championed by Beds and Bars CEO Keith Knowles, raising a huge sum.
As the charity is launched, Beds and Bars will begin an amazing awareness initiative – placing the Team Margot Foundation at the centre of their charitable giving.
Commenting, Keith Knowles said: We as a board don’t just pick a charity. We seek to consult with our team and customers. The decision to support the Team Margot Foundation was a unanimous one, voted for by our employees from across Europe at the 2014 AGM. The first step will be to get the awareness campaign and the fund raising for the foundation into all of our backpackers hostels, bars and pubs across seven countries. The step after this will be to extend the awareness drive to our friends at Europe’s Famous Hostels, which will take us into more than a dozen additional countries. Our young and internationally diverse customers are ideal potential stem cell donors, so we’re going to communicate in every way that we can, just how easy it is to register as a donor.
The Beds and Bars fundraising drive for the Team Margot Foundation will centre around key card deposit donations across the St Christopher’s Inns backpacker hostels, in addition to events held in the Belushi’s bars, and traditional pubs. Travellers checking out of the Beds and Bars backpacker hostels will be given the choice of dropping off their key card in a special check out box, therein waving their key card deposit in favour of Beds and Bars making a donation to their chosen charity – the Team Margot Foundation. Over the past two and a half years a similar Beds and Bars initiative raised tens of thousands of pounds for Build Africa.
In addition to branded key cards, the Beds and Bars websites, e-newsletters, in house notice boards and cutlery sleeves, will carry key awareness messaging.
Yaser added: The family are touched by this gesture from the team at Beds and Bars and hope that it’s the start of a number of different activities across the trade to raise global awareness and encourage donors. The support from the pub trade has been fantastic, demonstrated recently with the Bridge Walk in London where £100,000 was raised for both Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity and Delete Blood Cancer UK. It’s worth remembering that the pub trade raises over £100,000,000 each year for charity* so in many ways, it should be no surprise that we have enjoyed such selfless support from this great industry. We are of course so grateful to the Beds and Bars team and also to everyone in the industry for all their wonderful support, fundraising efforts and generous donations. Thank you.
To find out more about the Team Margot Foundation, go to: http://www.teammargot.com
Watch the Team Margot 2015 Video.