Mo Gilligan, Charles Venn, Danny John-Jules, Chizzy Akudolu, and more support blood cancer charity at annual fundraiser.

On Saturday 28th September 2019, ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) hosted the 12th edition of their celebrity fundraising event, the ‘ACLT Gift of Life Celebrity Fundraising Ball’. The red carpet affair took place at the 5-star InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair, and was hosted by long serving ACLT supporter, Smooth FM’s drive time host, Angie Greaves and Comedian Scott Charlton (Lashings World XI).

Celebrities who attended on the night included: Mo Gilligan (Comedian), Colin Salmon (Actor and ACLT Patron), Jahmene (Musician), Andrew Cole (Former Footballer), Jasmine Dotiwala (Broadcaster), Femi Oyeniran (Film Director), Nicholas Walker (Film Director), Aml Ameen (Actor), Brenda Emmanus (Broadcaster), Charles Venn (Actor), Chizzy Akudolu (Actress), Chris Hughton (Former Football Manager), Claudia-Liza Armah (Broadcaster), Colin McMillan (Former Boxer), DJ Ace (BBC Radio 1XTRA), Dotun Adebayo (Broadcaster), Ellen Thomas (Actress), Gillian Joseph (Broadcaster), Hugh Quarshie (Actor), Jaye Jacobs (Actress), Joe Thompson (Former Football Player), Marcus Gayle (Former Football Player), Paul Canoville (Former Football Player), Sara Powell (Actress), Scarlette Douglas (TV Presenter), DJ Martin Jay (Former Radio Presenter), Shaun Wallace (TV Personality), Spencer Fearon (Boxing Promoter), Symeon Brown (Broadcaster) Paul Davis (Former Football Player), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Actress), Adjoa Andoh (Actress) and Tony Marshall (Actor).

Over 450 diners came to celebrate the achievements of the leading blood cancer charity, as well as hear from individuals who became living ‘organ’ donors to save the life of their loved ones who were in desperate need of an organ (kidney) transplant. Stories of those shared on the night included BBC 1XTRA DJ Ace who earlier this month shared his story of him living with kidney failure and his need for a kidney transplant.  The 37 year old took to the stage on Saturday to urge diners to support the work of ACLT. Guests also heard from 9 year old Miai Phillip who shared her story of living with Sickle Cell Disease and her wish for more people from the African Caribbean community to register as regular blood donors.

Orin Lewis, Chief Executive & ACLT co-founder said: “We are delighted that over 450 diners which included over 50 celebrity guests came out to
support ACLT.   Whilst there are more ethnic minorities receiving lifesaving transplants than ever before, there are still too many donation opportunities being missed because families are not discussing the subject and making their decisions clear while they are alive.
 
New figures from NHS Blood and Transplant reveal 121 people from ethnic backgrounds donated their organs after they died last year, the highest number to date. From this only 20 were from the African Caribbean community. Additionally, 149 people from ethnic backgrounds donated as a living donor, however only 25 were from the African Caribbean community. 
 
Illnesses such as kidney failure can happen to anyone, however it tends to be an illness affecting the black community in a big way. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of people like those who attended the ball to help us sustain our lifesaving work to raise awareness on the importance of organ donation and provide support to those living with organ failure, in the hope our support finds them the matched donor they so desperately need.
 
Thank you to everyone who support the Gift of Life ball by purchasing a ticket, participating in the auction and raffle, or signing up to be a monthly direct debit donor, to provide financial support to ACLT. You are helping us with our mission to ensure a life is not lost due to a matched donor not being readily available to them – and for this we thank you.”

Top prizes won on the night included 7 nights at 5* Park HYATT Resort St. Kitts courtesy of Sackville Travel and Return Business Class Flights (to US) courtesy of American Airlines.