Expedition Margot Founders

Catherine and Alex Schmid

Catherine has always felt an inherent calling to help sick babies and children, having previously worked as a paediatrician in both South Africa and the UK. Catherine’s passion and dedication to children as a paediatrician, an active philanthropist and mother to beautiful daughter and impending new arrival, has had an empowering effect on her husband and Expedition Margot team member, Alex.

Expedition Margot will combine Alex’s love for adventure, the outdoors and personal challenges. As an entrepreneur working in investments within Europe, Alex has always been interested in unique, off the beaten track adventures in both his business and personal life. With a lifelong dedication to fitness and athletics, Alex has become an accomplished skier both cross country and downhill skiing. Both competitive and driven by nature, Alex is keen to push his own limits and learn new skills whilst taking on extraordinary tasks. The desire to cross the Greenland ice caps combines all of these aspects, whilst being fiercely driven by Catherine’s desire to continue her tireless efforts in driving awareness for charities and children’s treatments against life threatening illnesses.

Expedition Margot is invested in raising awareness and funds for a very important and worthy cause, the requirement for bone marrow and stem cell donation. Team Margot Foundation will be the beneficiary of all funds raised from the expedition and support. The expedition costs are completely self-financed meaning every single penny raised will go direct to Team Margot Foundation and the cause, something that is very important to both Catherine and Alex.

The reason Catherine and Alex have chosen to team up with Team Margot Foundation is due to a personal relationship with a beautiful candidate; Margot Martini, whom Catherine met via her own daughter’s godmother. Aged just 14 months old, little Margot Martini was diagnosed in October 2013 with an extremely rare form of blood cancer which has dual lineage - both Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). The consultant haematologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital told Margot's family that he had only seen three such cases in the last ten years. With a daughter of a similar age to Margot, Catherine felt an immediate need to assist with the search of a match for Margot and thus joined the campaign named “Team Margot”  which encouraged stem cell donors to register as a potential donor and help find a match for Margot and other children alike. “Team Margot”  motivated an unprecedented 50,000 potential donors to register their interest in blood stem cell donation with Delete Blood Cancer UK. With an incredible online campaign and support from the likes of Stephen Fry, Richard Branson, Dynamo, Catherine Tate, Gary Barlow, David Tennant, Ian Wright, Alex Jones, Natalie Pinkman and Boris Becker the Margot appeal has been pivotal in the recognition from stem cell donation.

Margot eventually found a suitable donor match and received her bone marrow transplant in February 2014. Unfortunately, Margot’s Leukaemia was extremely aggressive. She relapsed during the summer and passed away, aged 2 years and 2 months, on the 27 October 2014. This incredible little girl has brought light to such an important and worthy cause and Catherine and Alex are dedicated to “Expedition Margot” as a platform to continue highlighting her bravery and resilient in fighting this horrific disease.