ON SUNDAY people from the West Midlands registered to go on standby to help save the life of someone living with a blood cancer.
DKMS, a blood cancer charity, encouraged 128 people in the West Midlands to ‘swab to be a lifesaver’ and register as a potential blood stem cell donor at an Birmingham event.
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK but less than half of the UK population are aware of blood cancer issues.
A blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can often be the best hope of survival but only one in three people in need of a transplant will find a matching donor in their own family. Over 300,000 people in the UK have already registered as a donor. However, less than 5% of donors have a south Asian heritage and less than 3% of donors are black.
People of minority ethnicities with a blood cancer face severe inequality in their search for a matching blood stem cell donor due to these figures. The charity’s latest advertising campaign encourages people to ‘swab to be a lifesaver’ and adverts have been running across Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton from May.
Hyesha Kaur Rahanu, 28, from Edgbaston, attended the event with her mother and sister after a rare condition that she lives with, kikuchis lymphadenitis, was mis-diagnosed as high grade peripheral t-cell non-hodgkins lymphoma. She said: “When I was initially given the diagnosis of lymphoma it had a huge impact on my life, body and soul. It took me months to finally get the correct diagnosis and after this I wanted to support DKMS and the important work they do to recruit potential blood stem cell donors. As a family we were keen to support as much as possible and were delighted we were able to help register people.”
Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS said: “Thanks to all the Birmingham community for supporting our DKMS registration event and signing up as a potential blood stem cell donor. Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer – so everyone who has registered at the event may potentially help give someone living with blood cancer a second chance of life.
“If you weren’t able to visit us and you are aged between 17-55 years old and in general good health then please register online at www.dkms.org.uk”