Celebrating the 1807 potential lifesavers in Argyll and Bute this Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Residents in Argyll and Bute have been praised by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan for the people in their community who are registered as stem cell donors.

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Michael Russell MSP has revealed that Argyll and Bute is 1st in the Highlands and Island, and 5th of 73 overall in the country  for having the most stem cell donors on the register. Michael Russell MSP collected a certificate on behalf of Argyll and Bute from the charity at a reception on Thursday 20 September in the Scottish Parliament.

This achievement is being celebrated by Anthony Nolan as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign – which shines a spotlight on the vital work being done at a local level to ensure every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.

In Argyll and Bute, 1807 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan.

In total, more than 700,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.

Now, Michael Russell is encouraging more people from Argyll and Bute, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 16% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Michael Russell MSP said: “I am very proud that Argyll and Bute has so many people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

“I strongly hope that more people from our community will be inspired to sign up and show that together, we can provide a cure for blood cancer.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Since 1974 thousands of caring, selfless people have joined the Anthony Nolan register and thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. It’s wonderful to have the support of Argyll and Bute in achieving our goal of saving and improving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.”

For more information about the Community vs Blood Cancer campaign visit www.anthonynolan.org/communities

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell takes part in wear it pink event at Scottish Parliament for Breast Cancer Now

Michael Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute dazzled in pink as he pulled on some bright pink at the Scottish Parliament to encourage constituents to take part in wear it pink, on Friday 19 October.


Michael Russell joined fellow parliamentarians in Holyrood to encourage people across Scotland to get involved and take part on wear it pink day to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s research.


Michael Russell is calling for constituents in Argyll and Bute to join him, as well as thousands of others across the UK, to sign up and take part in wear it pink which takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to date has raised over £31million towards Breast Cancer Now’s important work.


Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day is one of the biggest fundraising events in the UK. Back for its 17th year, the fundraiser calls on supporters to ditch their everyday colours, and add a splash of pink to their outfit, to raise money for breast cancer research.


Michael Russell, constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, said:


“Sadly, most of us know someone affected by this devastating disease – every year around 4,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland and almost 1,000 people will die of it.  



“I am incredibly proud to be backing wear it pink this year and I would like to urge local people across my constituency to join me on Friday 19 October and show their support for Breast Cancer Now.


“As you can see from my photograph, taking part is easy, all it takes is an additional splash of pink to your normal outfit! It’s time to stand together, pull on some pink, and support Breast Cancer Now’s vital research – I hope you will all join me.



Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:


“We are really grateful for the enthusiasm and support shown by MSPs. Everyone looked fabulous in their pink accessories and showed just how easy it is to add a touch of pink to your everyday outfit. We hope that by wearing pink, Mr Russell will encourage constituents in Argyll and Bute to get involved and fundraise in their homes, schools or workplaces, and help us to continue to fund world-class research into this devastating disease.


Wear it pink is a fantastic opportunity for communities across the UK to come together, have fun and show their support to this very important cause. By simply wearing something pink and donating what you can, you are helping raise much-needed funds to stop breast cancer taking the lives of those we love. Together we can take one step forward to help reach our goal that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.”


To take part in wear it pink this October, please visit wearitpink.org/2018msp for further details, fundraising ideas and how to register for your free fundraising pack.

Constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell, joined MSP’s from across the Scottish Parliament to raise a cup to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Putting politics aside, Michael Russell MSP joined with Janice Preston, Macmillan Head of Services in Scotland for the charity’s flagship fundraising campaign which aims to raise millions to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

Last year thousands of people across the UK took part in a Coffee Morning event, raising around £27m for Macmillan. This year the total raised by Coffee Morning since it began in 1991 will pass the £200m mark. The official day for World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Friday 28th September but you can hold your own event at a time to suit you.

It couldn’t be more simple to get involved – all you need to do is get together with family, friends or colleagues over coffee and cake. You can register now for your free fundraising pack via the website – www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee – or find a Coffee Morning near you to get involved in.

Help people with cancer live life as fully as they can and find a Macmillan Coffee Morning in your community to attend this September. www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee

Difficulties being experienced by two vessels in the Cal Mac fleet which serve Arran have resulted in major disruptions to the services for Islay and Colonsay. Commenting on the Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said:


“Whilst everyone is aware of the problems of success that Cal Mac has been experiencing, including record numbers of passengers and greatly increased sailings, the recent problems have highlighted the absolute necessity of getting more vessels into the fleet and have also indicated potential weaknesses in operations and management that need to be addressed.


No one doubts the extraordinary hard work of Cal Mac staff in trying to overcome current issues but equally no one in the affected community should have to experience, once again, severe problems that are causing considerable personal difficulties for those who rely on lifeline services as well as a threat to key local, late season, tourist events. Such impacts, leading to economic and social damage, are unacceptable.


It is good news that there are two new vessels under construction though the delay to these is unfortunate. However CMAL has, apparently, been scouring the world for several years for a suitable additional vessel as a stop gap and has failed to find one. Most people who rely on ferry services do not understand that failure and want to see it overcome.


Cal Mac also needs to look again with urgency at its maintenance and refit routines. They have an aging fleet but passengers need to be assured that maintenance routines are being undertaken with sufficient regularity and that refits are being planned at times that don’t impinge on busy periods.


Kenny Gibson MSP and I have requested a meeting with the relevant Ministers in the Scottish Government, which would include representatives of the local Ferry Committees on Arran and Islay. We hope to make Ministers aware of the huge difficulties caused by this situation and make some concrete suggestions for the future. Whatever happens these problems cannot be allowed to continue, let alone happen again.”

Starting this month, Universal Credit Scottish Choices will be available to those living in Argyll and Bute. Whilst the UK Government continue the rollout of Universal Credit in Scotland, which is expected to be completed in December, the Scottish Government are using the minor administrative powers they have in relation to Universal Credit to attempt to mitigate its impact.

Sometimes known as “The Scottish Flexibilities”, Universal Credit Scottish Choices will give people the choice to receive twice monthly payments and to have the housing cost in their Universal Credit award paid direct to their landlord.

Commenting, Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said:

“The SNP Scottish Government remains strongly opposed to the rollout of Universal Credit, in particular the decision that every person claiming UC will only receive their first payment after 5 weeks.

This is leading to rent arrears and hardship and whilst we have been repeatedly calling on the UK Government to halt the roll out of Universal Credit to make the necessary improvements to delivery it has been falling on deaf ears.

I am pleased that so far the take-up rate of the Universal Creidt Scottish Choices has been high – with more than 2,500 people choosing one or both of the choices in the final two months of 2017 – and I am hopeful that this will be of assistance to many of my constituents in Argyll and Bute.”