Saturday Kitchen’s Olly Smith to host huge blood donation event

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As a popular foodie and wine expert on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, Olly knows all there is to know about the industry. He recently spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to talk about his upcoming charity work, which is something close to his heart.

On May 28, which is World Blood Day, Olly will host the live event on DKMS Facebook and Youtube channels.

He said: “The idea is raising funds for DKMS to continue their life-saving work, and the event itself is actually free.

“But we’re urging everybody to donate what they can to help DKMS register more blood stem cell donors.

“So, really it’s a simple kind of concept. There are various wines that I’ve chosen for the night that people can obviously get if they wish.”

He added: “But it being a free event, I would show up with whichever one they like and I’ll be taking them through wine tasting pairing with cheese.”

The cheese and wine event is a fitting one for wine connoisseur Olly, but there’s another reason behind it.

Olly said: “Really, the idea of linking one with cheese as a match is similar to finding donor matches for the blood cancer charity so if someone’s in urgent need of life-saving blood stem cell transplant, that’s the kind of link.”

When asked what made him want to be a part of the important event, Olly explained: “Cancer has touched people in my lives – my grandfather died of lymphoma.

“And especially during the pandemic I think people felt pressured, in so many different ways but in terms of finding donors, it’s been made that much more difficult.

“So I think it’s a timely moment to try and reach out and help people who really need support.

“In 2021 for example, there were 50 percent fewer registrations than there would have been before the pandemic, so there are thousands of patients who these are life-saving things for that we can do.”

He added that there are thousands of patients who need life-saving donations.

“There are things that we can do,” Olly said. “And it’s drastic really so people aren’t able to go to their GP to get diagnosed and there are fewer hospital appointments.

“Obviously treatments have been postponed and cancelled. It’s the nature of the pandemic.

“So it feels like it’s an opportunity now that we’re coming out of lockdown to really raise some awareness and get some donations to reach out and support people.”

He added: “It can affect anyone at all and I think what amazes me is, is how much actually.

“And how much you can, so obviously people can donate, you can register as a donor, you can set up your own virtual drive, you can check out the campaigns.

“But it really does make a massive difference. Even the cost of a glass of wine could be enough, or even half a glass of wine I think.”

The event is free to join, but participants can help turn Olly’s perfect matches into lifesaving matches by making a donation to DKMS while enjoying a fun evening.

For more information, and to register your interest, visit dkms.org.uk/wine.

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