Like everyone, DKMS faced many challenges in 2021. But with the help of our supporters, we also achieved a lot. From record breaking numbers of stem cell donations, to fantastic fundraising, here are our successes of 2021.
Hetty was one of those amazing donors. In 2019 Hetty joined the registry in support of her friend John who was undergoing a stem cell transplant to help him to treat his leukaemia. Only a week after receiving confirmation of her registration, Hetty received the call - she was someone's potential lifesaver! The next week she went for a full health MOT to confirm that she was well enough to donate. Then she had to make sure her body had enough blood stem cells to donate. This involved injections for 4 or 5 days leading up the the donation. Hetty was nervous but said the injections were 'nowhere near as bad as I had expected them to be'. Hetty returned to the hospital to complete her donation - complimenting the care and support of all the staff on the day. She describes herself as feeling 'super proud' at the end of the process. You can see more of Hetty's story above.
Sadly John passed away in May 2020, leaving his friends and family grieving. But by taking the initiative to help someone else who is in need just like John, and signing up as potential blood stem cell donors, they have left a legacy in John’s name.
Despite being unable to host many in-person registration events, we continued to work with patients and their families to organise virtual donor registration drives. Over 180 webpages were added to our site to share the stories of patients, donors and supporters and encourage people to become lifesavers in waiting. Alongside appeals to our followers on social media, billboard campaigns and word of mouth, this helped to increase the number of potential lifesavers registered by DKMS UK to nearly 900,000.
By taking part in everything from marathons (both virtual and organised races) to skydives to wing walks, our amazing supporters helped to cover the costs of some of these registrations. As well as taking on daredevil stunts and physical challenges, the DKMS community supported our Gift of Life campaign, featuring stem cell recipient Alfie. Together, over 600 people donated more than £16,000. Everyone in the fundraising team would like to thank you all for your incredible support in 2021.