DANNY and Margaret McGuigan have a very good reason to raise their glasses to the Anthony Nolan Trust.
The couple – who have run the popular Wee Howff pub in Paisley’s High Street for the last 21 years – were devastated when their granddaughter Katie Currie was diagnosed with leukaemia.
That was three years ago and little Katie, six, was admitted to hospital for treatment.
But she had a relapse and doctors told her family her only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant.
After three months of searching their register, staff at the Anthony Nolan Trust came up with possible matches for Katie.
The brave youngster underwent the transplant operation three months ago and has been doing well since then, although she has a long way to go and is still in and out of hospital for treatment.
Now Danny and Margaret, helped by all of their staff, are to repay the Anthony Nolan Trust team for their support by staging a special fundraising day at the Wee Howff.
The event, which takes place tomorrow, is being dubbed the Blue Pants Fundraiser and aims to coin in cash for the Anthony Nolan Trust, as well as raising awareness of all the good work done by the charity.
Bar staff and customers alike will be wearing fancy dress, including blue pants, and there will be live music, a charity auction, raffles and lots of other fun events.
Margaret, 56, will be raising more cash by taking part in a sponsored zipslide in East Kilbride.
She said: “We’re doing this to raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan Trust. When you get to the stage of needing a bone marrow transplant, it’s really your last hope.
“No-one in the family was a match for Katie.
“The doctors told us she needed to get a bone marrow transplant and the Anthony Nolan Trust started checking their register.
“Three months later, we were told they had a match.
“Actually, they found three matches and chose the one which was strongest.
“All we know is that it came from a male. We’re so grateful because, if it wasn’t for the Anthony Nolan Trust and those people joining their register, Katie probably wouldn’t be here.”
The Anthony Nolan Trust recruits donors to their bone marrow register through clinics.
The charity keeps records of each person’s tissue type, looks for matches and looks after those volunteers who are actually asked to donate.
It also analyses and manages its database and conducts research into ways to make transplantation more successful.
It costs the Trust £125 to screen one person and the charity relies on fundraising to continue its good work.
Margaret said: “It’s so easy to register.
“All that is involved is a wee blood test and that’s it.
“You’re on the list and, if you’re a match, then you’ll be contacted.
“Anyone aged between 18 and 40 can do it. Basically, you’re saving someone’s life.
“Katie was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago and was receiving treatment, but she relapsed and our only hope was finding a match for a bone marrow transplant.
“She had to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy before the transplant took place to kill off all her existing bone marrow.
“It was a gruelling time.
“Katie is doing well but she’s still got a long way to go.
“She’s in and out of hospital but it’s a case of ‘so far, so good.’
“There are thousands of people waiting for a phone call to tell them they’ve found a bone marrow match.
“Without that, they’ll die. It’s the last option.
“We had three months of waiting and hoping and we’re so pleased that a match was found.”
Margaret will be joined by her daughter and son-in-law for tomorrow’s daredevil zipslide.
She laughed: “I’ve never done anything like it before. My daughter roped me into it.
“All the money we raise will go to the Anthony Nolan Trust.”
Tomorrow’s fundraising fun at the Wee Howff gets under way at 12.30pm and there will be events throughout the day until closing time.
Margaret added: “Our barmaid Jenny has been wonderful, she’s done so much organising for the fundraiser.
“If anyone comes into the pub with money on the day, then she’ll make sure they won’t be leaving with it still in their pockets!”