Jennie McAlpine plays the much loved Coronation Street character Fiz Stape. Jennie became a first-time mum when she welcomed her son Albert into the world with her partner, Chris Farr.
When Jennie McAlpine gave birth to Albert back in November of 2014 she was able to donate her newborn son’s umbilical cord blood to Anthony Nolan who could use it to save the life of someone in need of a stem cell transplant. Little did Jennie know at the time just how poignant donating Albert’s cord blood would be.
Speaking to the Daily Record about giving birth to Albert, Jennie said “The hospital was brilliant, the staff looked after me and all the other mums so well. I’m in awe of them.
“Anthony Nolan have got a unit there at St Mary’s so we donated the cord blood. Albert got a little vest saying, ‘I’m a born lifesaver’. It’s amazing to think he could help save someone. We were really happy that we did it.”
St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester is one of only 10 hospitals in the UK equipped to collected umbilical cord blood donations. However, St Mary’s Hospital is currently the only hospital in the North of England to accept cord blood donations, with the exception of Leicester General Infirmary and Leicester Royal Infirmary, the remaining hospitals equipped to accept donations are clustered in the south of England.
Little did Jennie McAlpine know that less than a year after giving birth to her own son that her on-screen character, Fiz, would find out her four-year-old daughter has Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is one of 80 serious illnesses which can be treated with a cord blood stem cell transplant. Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer which develops from a type of cell called a neuroblast, it is most commonly seen in children under 5 years of age. Speaking to the Daily Record about her upcoming storyline Jennie said “When I donated Albert’s cord blood when he was born, I couldn’t imagine I would be filming this story line. Doing it has made me join the blood donor register, the organ donor register and the bone marrow register. It just made me think, ‘Why aren’t we all on it?’ A girl called Amy works on Corrie production and has a little boy who had been on Ward 84 needing a bone marrow transplant a few years ago. Her boy got better, which is why everyone shouldn’t put it off and join all the registers now.”