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 South London was held at Beddington Conference Centre, Croydon, on 18 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 60 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.
Shushma Patel, a BAPS Charities volunteer, said, “Due to my age, I was not able to register myself and give a swab sample so I decided to help by volunteering my time and engaging with the local community to help find a match for Kaiya. The response was overwhelming and we hope that a match can be found very soon.”
Sheena Patel, also a volunteer, added, “It is humanity at its best when you see the whole community come together to become a potential life-saver.”
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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