The DKMS Bedford hub was set up in May 2018 by Poonam and other passionate volunteers as part of the desperate search to find a stem cell match for five year old leukaemia patient Kaiya.
Sadly Kaiya passed away in January 2019 but the Bedford hub continue on their mission to give as many people a second change at life as possible.
“Our collective network has allowed us to register potential blood stem cell donors at a variety of different events. The generosity and enthusiasm for becoming a lifesaver in waiting has resulted in us attending and setting up several large stem cell registration events” says Poonam.
DKMS Bedford hub have registered over 2,200 people at 50 registration events!
Please help the team on their mission, join the register today and take the first step towards saving a life. If you're unable to join the register but would still like to help, get in touch below to find out about local volunteering opportunities and others ways to support DKMS.
“I married my soulmate David in 1988. In February 1994 Jimmy, my eldest stepson, discovered a lump on his shoulder. In the morning the lump had grown and they went to their local GP who sent him to hospital where he was diagnosed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Sadly in August 1994 Jimmy died – he was just 16.”
“In 1995, David was also diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. David endured various bouts of chemo, going in and out of remission. He had a stem cell transplant using his own stem cell. Sadly the cancer was not giving up.”
“His brother and sister were tested but neither of them could donate. No donor match could be found in time for David. Having put up a brave fight for many years he lost against this cruel disease I February 2002.”
“I am dedicated to helping DKMS find more potential donors as if more people had signed up, my husband may not have died.”
“Seven years ago I saw a friend post on Facebook a link to register as a potential blood stem cell donor as she had just registered herself. I registered and thought nothing more of it.”
“Out of the blue five years later I got a phone call from DKMS saying I was a potential match for a blood cancer patient. Due to the patients condition I needed to donate as quickly as possible, within a week I was in London having a medical assessment to check I was healthy enough to donate my stem cells.”
“The following week I was booked in for a course on GCSF injections which ensured by body made enough stem cells to be collected during my donation.”
“The night before was filled with both excitement and nervousness, DKMS arrange for me to stay in a hotel in London the night before to ensure I could be at the hospital in the morning.”
“Up bright and early I arrived at the London clinic and was quickly put at ease by the friendly nurses. I donated through the peripheral stem cell donation method. Your blood is taken from one arm, to a centrifuge which separates the stem cells out and then the blood goes back into the other arm. The procedure was painless and I spent the morning relaxing watching a few films on the iPad.”
“It is one of the best things I have ever day, it’s amazing to think that I’ve helped save someone’s life. Now I volunteer for DKMS to help promote the importance of registering as a potential stem cell donor.”
Arya, 11, from Cambridge was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia in July 2020. Aplastic Anaemia is a life threatening condition in which the body stops producing new blood cells that are needed to carry oxygen, prevent infection and to stop bleeding. The family have been told that she needs a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant. Unfortunately no one in Arya’s family is a match so the family are now looking to the blood stem cell register.
Arya’s is of mixed heritage, half Indian and half Caucasian; this makes finding a donor even more challenging. People from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic communities have just a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds – so it is essential for people from diverse backgrounds to register as potential stem cell donors.
Despite Arya’s life changing diagnosis and the constant stays in hospital, whilst having immunosuppressive treatment, she remains positive and is hopeful of a matching donor being found.
Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.
A note about Coronavirus
We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.
If you're a match
If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.
Together we will beat blood cancer.
To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.
Adding each potential life-saver to the blood stem cell register costs £40 and we need to add as many as possible, to give more second chances at life for people with blood cancer. So this festive season we will be making a donation to DKMS rather than giving cards; reducing our impact on the environment and helping more people with blood cancer to find their match. We’d like to invite you to join us; just imagine how many people we can add to the register if we all make donations rather than sending cards. That would be a truly magical gift!
Please share this request with your family and friends and on social media