BAPS Charities, in collaboration with DKMS, organised a bone marrow recruitment drive across London and the Midlands throughout May 2018 to enrol members of the South Asian community onto the British Bone Marrow Registry.
A total of 759 new potential donors registered in support of patients such as 5-year-old Kaiya, who is suffering from a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia and is in urgent need of a bone marrow donor. After six weeks of intensive chemotherapy, Kaiya’s chances of recovery are dependent on finding a matching donor for a stem cell transplant. Finding a stem cell donor is much more difficult for those of Asian, Black and Ethnic origins due to the lack of awareness in these communities, and the subsequent shortage of registered donors.
DKMS is an international non-profit advocacy group that works to raise awareness of the need for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which people with blood cancers need for treatment. They currently have more than 8 million potential donors registered and have given more than 69,000 second chances of life to people diagnosed with blood cancer.
The campaign in Birmingham was held at the Robin Hood Academy on 27 May 2018. A team of enthusiastic volunteers from both charities were present. They raised awareness about blood cancer and helped potential donors register by completing a simple form and taking a mouth swab. A total of 80 swab samples were taken on the day, and many more were also registered online.
The drive is part of BAPS Charities’ ongoing commitment to support the British Bone Marrow Registry. In January, BAPS Charities organised a similar campaign in appeal for nine-year-old Yuvan who is suffering from leukaemia, and is again appealing to those who have not registered to register so that we can find a match for Kaiya and hundreds like her awaiting a life-saving transplant.
Dr Paras Patel, a BAPS Charities volunteer, said, “The story of Kaiya has touched our hearts. It is encouraging to see so many people come to give their swab samples. The local community has pulled together and not only given their samples but also raised awareness and encouraged others to do the same, thereby increasing the chances for Kaiya to find a match.”
If you were unable to register on the day you can still help. You must be aged between 17 and 55 years, and not have a long-term medical condition. For more information about how you can help or register to become a bone marrow donor, please follow the links below:
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