24 January 2020
2019 was a fantastic year. In fact, it was a record-breaking year for DKMS UK and we have you to thank for our success. So, a huge thank you for supporting us to surpass some important milestones.
Last March, we saw our largest donor drive, when an incredible 4,855 people queued in the pouring rain to register for boy Oscar Saxelby-Lee. The registration event took place over two days at Oscar’s school in Worcester, and broke our previous record of 2,260 set in 2013.
In April, we held our Let’s Make a Spark event in Birmingham and coordinated the first meeting between Gary and his lifesaver Karen. With Elton John’s classic ‘I’m still standing’ playing in the background, it was a truly magical moment for the pair, and the story was picked up by CNN.
At the Roundhouse in London, in November, we held our third DKMS Gala. On the night, James met his lifesaver Leah. Guests at the event helped us to surpass our fundraising goal by raising over £1.4 million, which will go on to support the vital work we do and register even more potential lifesavers. Grammy-award winning artist Marcus Mumford provided the musical entertainment.
Later in November, ‘The Pub Landlord’ comedian Al Murray made a very personal appeal on behalf of his six-year old nephew Finley – who was diagnosed with JMML (juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia) that summer. Al appeared on ITV’s flagship breakfast programme Good Morning Britain. His appeal certainly struck a chord with the public, because we saw our highest number of single-day online registrations when 20,000 registered with DKMS.
More second chances
We ended 2019 with a total of 632,043 registered donors, and 276 people donated their blood stem cells to give someone a second chance at life.
The donation process
The first step to register is simple and straightforward – it takes minutes - you order your home swab kit online at dkms.org.uk, and then you swab the inside of your cheeks and send everything back in a pre-paid envelope to us in order for your details to be added to the register. You will then be on standby as a potential lifesaver.
If you are called upon, there are two donation methods. Around 90% of all donations are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. This method is very similar to giving blood. It involves blood being taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine separates the blood stem cells from it. The donor’s blood is then returned to them through their other arm. This is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in 4-6 hours.
In just 10% of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection. Bone marrow is taken from the pelvic bone under general anaesthetic and the procedure lasts around an hour.