Our journey began in Germany in 1991 when our founder, Dr Peter Harf, formed DKMS in honour of his wife, Mechtild. Sadly, Mechtild had lost her battle with blood cancer following the family’s unsuccessful search to find a potentially lifesaving matching blood stem cell donor. At that time, there were only 3,000 potential blood stem cell donors available to provide a transplant in Germany. Peter had a vision to change this and create a future where every blood cancer patient has a second chance of life.
Within one year of the founding of DKMS, the number of registered potential blood stem cell donors had increased nearly 23 times, to 68,000 people. This gave even more inspiration to Peter and reinforced his motivation to ‘delete blood cancer’.
Fast forward 27 years and today DKMS is an international non-profit organisation with offices in the UK (opened 2013), Chile (2018), Poland (2009), the United States (2004) and Germany (1991).
We have more than 8 million potential donors registered within the DKMS family and have given more than 69,000 second chances of life to people diagnosed with blood cancer. Our worldwide search for new donors continues though as many people are still not able to find the matching donor they need.
Impact in the UK
Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer and some 2,000 people are looking for a potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donor each year.
Since we launched in the UK, in 2013, we have been receiving great support from the public and have registered more than 300,000 people as potential blood stem cell donors. Some of these amazing people have gone on to donate blood stem cells, giving more than 330 second chances of life to blood cancer patients.
We are dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders. Our mission is to provide a matching donor for every blood cancer patient in need of a blood stem cell donation.
To make this happen we raise awareness, recruit and retain potential blood stem cell donors to provide a second chance of life, raise funds to match donor registration costs, and improve blood cancer therapies by our own research.
Together against blood cancer
Communities, schools and companies play a vital role in the fight against blood cancer. They help us reach audiences which may be hard to reach through other channels.
One person really can make a difference, as Peter proved when he founded DKMS. The more people who join the fight against blood cancer, the greater difference we could make together. This is why we work with volunteers and organisations throughout the UK and internationally, and new supporters are always welcome.
We are really happy to be working in partnership with the charity Love, Hope, Strength Foundation (LHSF). Registered as a charity in 2007, LHSF was co-founded by Mike Peters, a two-times cancer survivor and singer in the internationally acclaimed Welsh rock band The Alarm. We work with LHSF to provide donor registration opportunities at their concerts around the UK, as well as through links between our websites.
Coty has a long supporting relationship with us in Germany and the USA. We are very grateful to Coty for their support during our UK launch in 2013, providing both financial capital and PR assistance. We also held our first UK company donor recruitment event with Coty, registering 50% of their UK staff, who are now all on standby to save the life of someone with blood cancer.
We are delighted to have ACLT (formerly the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) as one of our partners. We work together to raise awareness of blood stem cell donation and regularly organise co-partnered donor recruitment events. The ACLT was established in June 1996 by Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis, parents of former leukaemia sufferer Daniel De-Gale.
Love Hope Strength Foundation promotes innovative, music related, outreach and awareness programmes for leukaemia and cancer sufferers, survivors and their families. Since its formation the LHSF foundation has taken many prominent musicians and celebrities to some of the highest places on earth taking the message of love, hope and strength to people who do not always have access to the same medical treatments, care and facilities as experienced by many of us here in the west.
Since their establishment 18 years ago, the ACLT have significantly increased the numbers of black and mixed raced potential donors on the UK Stem Cell Registry.
The charity raises awareness that motivates and enables potential donors to come forward and register at a range of events, which are held regularly across the UK and abroad, and to offer hope to people suffering from leukaemia and blood related cancers.