DKMS, a blood cancer charity, has reached an incredible milestone of eight million potential blood stem cell donors worldwide thanks to the Sheffield community.
DKMS is dedicated to the fight against blood cancer by recruiting potential lifesavers who go on standby to help give someone in need of a stem cell donation a second chance at life. The milestone moment took place at a registration event at the University of Sheffield that encouraged the local community, staff and students to register.
Sheffield student William Chapman, 20, who is studying chemistry was amazed that he helped the charity reach this incredible milestone. He said: “I had no hesitations in registering as a potential lifesaver and the initial registration process was straightforward. It’s really humbling to know that I’m now on standby to potentially save someone’s life. You too could help make a difference to someone in need so please take the time to register.”
The global not-for-profit organisation started in Germany in 1991 and this year marks its fifth year anniversary in the UK. During this five year period over 350,000 potential lifesavers have registered in the UK.
However, only a fraction of the Sheffield population have taken the first steps to register with the charity (8,522) and just under half of that figure (4,376) have returned their swab kit, which is required to be officially added to the UK Aligned Stem Cell Registry.
Out of the 4,376 donors on the registry, eight have been identified as a donor match from the community and have gone on to donate their blood stem cells giving someone a second chance at life.
Elinor Bauchmuller, 37, a doctor from Sheffield, who registered with the charity in 2014, was one of the eight. Elinor donated last year through a peripheral blood cell stem collection, where the blood is passed through a machine that isolates and collects the stem cells. This method is used in 90% of cases and the other 10% of collections are done through a bone marrow collection.
Elinor attended the event and talked about her donation experience: “It was something I’d heard about and had meant to register for years but hadn’t got around to doing it. I was on the registry for around three years before I received the call.
“I felt privileged to know that when someone needed me, my details were on the registry and I could help someone who desperately needed it. I would certainly be prepared to donate again if I was needed.”
Despite these achievements, every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer and around 2,000 people in the UK are in need of a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS said: “This year has so far been monumental for DKMS as we mark our fifth year anniversary in the UK and reach our eight million potential lifesavers milestone worldwide. A huge thank you to everyone who has made this possible.
“We’ll continue our fight against blood cancer, registering as many potential lifesavers as possible. We will not stop until there is a match for everyone in need of a blood stem cell transplant.”
If you were unable to attend the donor drive event and aged between 17-55 and in general good health you can register for a home swab kit online at www.dkms.org.uk.
To register one potential blood stem cell donor it costs £40. DKMS relies on monetary donations to help cover this cost. Whilst the NHS is very supportive, it falls to charities like us to reach out to those lifesavers – please support us in registering more potential lifesavers and donate online.