Royal Engineer Peace-keepers Help Fight Cancer

Capt. Vance White
First published in
SFOR Informer#133, February 28, 2002

The soldiers of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team stationed in Sipovo and Banja Luka, rowed, cycled and ran their way back to the United Kingdom to raise more than 1,500 pounds (2,400 Euro) for The Anthony Nolan Trust.
Sipovo - This trust is a charitable organisation that conducts research to find a cure for leukemia (commonly known as 'cancer of the blood'), maintains a database of possible donors and is involved in bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation.
Cpl. Ian 'Dixie' Dickson, a Number 2 with the EOD troop from the 21 Field Squadron, deployed last September with the idea of doing something to raise money for the Trust. The other members of the EOD section eagerly agreed to help raise money.
"I have a friend back home who developed leukemia about one year ago," explained Dickson. "His family was tested to see if their bone marrow would be a match for him - it wasn't. I didn't have time to get tested before deploying, but I still wanted to do something to help."
Combined Effort
With the encouragement of troop commander Lt. Simon Ash, Dickson enlisted the help of the 18 members of the EOD troop - including the Royal Engineers, the Royal Army Veterinary Corps dog handlers and even the Dutch signallers with whom they work as part of the Incident Response Team in Sipovo.
"I'm glad we were finally able to get everyone together for the event," said Ash. "It's been a busy tour. I'm happy Dickson will be able to take the money back to the Trust when we leave Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of February."
The money was not only raised by 'passing the hat' around the units in Sipovo and Banja Luka, but Dickson also enlisted the help of his family at home, and friends at their home unit, 21 Field Squadron, 33 Engineer Regiment, in Wimbish, UK, to get sponsorships as well.
"I really want to thank everyone who participated and helped to raise money," said Dickson. "It means a lot to me to help Richard. We've been friends since our days in school."
Maximum Effort
The participants agreed to run, cycle and row a total of 1,828 km - the distance from Banja Luka to Wimbish. In total each of the participants ran a 10.5 km route near the Sipovo camp, rowed 2.7 km on rowing machines and cycled 88 km on stationary bicycles.
They started at 8:30 am Saturday, Jan. 26th, and completed the gruelling triathlon by about 6:30 that night - in time for a couple of beers before a long night's sleep.
Dickson and his troop will return to Wimbish on Feb 20th. He plans to have his blood tested while home on leave, before the troop heads out to Kenya in April for a six-week deployment.
Potential bone marrow donors should be 18 to 40 years old, be in generally good health and should weigh more than 8 stone (112 pounds). Male donors are urgently needed. Anyone who is interested in learning more about The Anthony Nolan Trust, or becoming a bone marrow donor should visit the web site www.anthonynolan.org.uk, or contact the Anthony Nolan Trust at 0901 88 22 234 (at a cost of 25p per call).

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK

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Photos:
MCpl Sylvain Bourget

A group photo of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, with their two dogs, Prince and Barney.


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Cpl. Ian Dickson (Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team) from the Royal Engineers stationed in Sipovo and Banja Luka rows, as others from the EOD Team cycle during the fund-raising event.


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Sgt. Jamal Sealiti, a Dutch signaller stationed in Sipovo, pulls hard.