Twitter generates unprecedented support for two charities

14 Jan 2013 News

The Anthony Nolan Trust saw applications to its stem cell register skyrocket earlier this month after the son of a woman that needed a stem cell donor launched an urgent campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Rio Ferdinand

The Anthony Nolan Trust saw applications to its stem cell register skyrocket earlier this month after the son of a woman that needed a stem cell donor launched an urgent campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

#spitformum, named for the way that potential bone marrow donors are tested for a match, was started by Jonni Berger (@jonnibgood) after he learned over Christmas that his mother would need a bone marrow transplant in six weeks time.

As no bone marrow match had yet been found, Jonni hoped the campaign would convince more people to sign up to the stem cell register, urgently.

According to the charity, the campaign was remarkably successful at increasing registrations.  It received 838 online applications in the first four days of January, when the typical average is around 50 per day.  Almost two-thirds said social media played a part in their decision to apply. 

No match has been found yet for Jonni’s mother but the campaign is continuing.

Twitter secures Ferdinand support for Danceaid

Twitter was also behind the recruitment of footballer Rio Ferdinand (pictured) to the cause of Danceaid, a charity that supports vulnerable and disabled children.

According to the Evening Standard, the Manchester United star was on a train last Wednesday when he was spotted by a woman called Michelle Clark who immediately texted some friends to say he was on the same train as her.  While most responded by urging her to take a photo, one friend, Danceaid founder Laura Wilson, texted back: “You must tell him about Danceaid!”

After Clark replied “You must be joking”, Wilson tweeted Ferdinand directly, telling him that one of her charity’s ambassadors was on the train and asking if he would get involved.  The next thing Clark knew, Ferdinand had wandered over to her and asked what he could do to help.

After news of the encounter went viral on Twitter, Ferdinand (@RioFerdy5) confirmed to his 3.8 million followers: “Yep, news travels fast on this Twitter! See if I can help out.”

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