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 East London was held at Oaks Park High School, Newbury, on 22 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 253 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 Niraj Barot, a BAPS Charities volunteer, said, “What an overwhelming response! The more people that give swabs, the closer we will get to a match, so we really appreciate so many people taking part. We hope that we find a match for Kaiya very soon.”
Dr Meghana Bhatt, also a volunteer, added, “Being a mother myself, it was overwhelming to see the spirit of community coming together to help this little girl. People from all faiths and backgrounds came together to find a match for Kaiya. Thank you to all.”
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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