ACLT was founded in 1996 by Beverley De-Gale OBE, and Orin Lewis OBE, 3 years after receiving the devastating news that their 6-year-old son Daniel De-Gale needed a stem cell transplant in order to win his 6-year battle against acute leukaemia.
The 40+ time award-winning charity is committed to providing hope to patients living with blood cancer and illnesses where a matched donor (stem cell, blood or organ) is required to save a life. Their work is driven by a belief that no one should die waiting for a donor to become available.
Through their work, ACLT improve the odds of finding matches by registering potential donors en masse from all ethnicities, with a focus on donors from the African and Caribbean communities. This is due to the extreme shortage of potential African and Caribbean donors.
During the last three months of lockdown ACLT has had to adapt to the new challenges. They focused on supporting many patients who have been affected by blood cancer or in need of an organ transplant. Additionally, some from this group had been told their transplants were on hold which understandably brought on its own level of anxiety.
ACLT responded immediately and offered counselling and financial support to all individuals which included blood cancer patients, with the majority being transplant patients who were forced to shield due to the pandemic.
Members of the ACLT team called each individual on a weekly basis over the last 12 weeks, to provide additional support and an listening ear to discuss any concerns, issues and problems they were facing as a result of their suspended treatment/operations and address and resolve any immediate issues they had the power to assist with.
As Ronke Oke a manager at ACLT explained,
“This new activity was met with great appreciation by the individuals who needed support, as well as their family members, as patients have felt helpless and at times emotionally quite low”.
ACLT found themselves humbled at the positive responses received for taking the initiative in these areas and using their resources, experiences and well-honed skills to assist and comfort victims of Covid-19. They supported people who found their life saving operations put on hold whilst the hospitals focused on the coronavirus pandemic. ACLT adapted and made sure that they supported people, so they felt like they were not alone.