DKMS Student Ambassador awarded Points of Light award

27 June 2018

Our first Student Ambassador, Zainab Garba-Sani, from Solihull, has been recognised by the Prime Minister, for her work increasing the number of blood stem cell donors.

Zainab has won the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Recruiting Potential Lifesavers

Zainab became our first UK student ambassador in 2016, when she studied a BSC in Clinical Sciences at the University of Bradford.

During her time at her university she set up an award-winning society of volunteers at the campus to help inspire more young people to register as potential donors. The society went onto register 250 potential blood stem cell donors.

Zainab raising awareness of blood cancer

A friend indeed

After witnessing her friend receiving a life-changing blood stem cell donation to treat her sickle cell anaemia, Zainab was inspired to support us by increasing the number of blood stem cell donations from BAME communities as patients from black, Asian, and mixed ethnic groups have a less lower chance of finding a matching donor.

Zainab said: “Coming from a Nigerian ethnic origin I have seen the effect of blood diseases and how they impact so many lives. Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness, not enough people with an African heritage register to become potential blood stem cell donors.”

Upon hearing she had won the Points of Light award, Zainab said:  “I hope that this award helps increase awareness of blood cancers and blood disorders further and encourages more people to become lifesavers.

“I hope it inspires others to give back in whatever way they can, as every single person has the ability to help in some way, shape or form.

“My DKMS journey has brought me so much joy and I hope that it can also be a beacon of light for many others. Blood cancers can affect anyone, so the fight should be everyone’s.”

All smiles: Zainab Garba-Sani

A message from the Prime Minister Theresa May

Zainab is one of small portion of people across  the UK who’s work has been honoured as a shinning example of volunteering.

She is the 937th person to receive the award. Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Your campaign to increase the number of blood stem cell donors has the very real potential to save lives.

"As the first ever Student Ambassador for ‘DKMS’, you have inspired others to set up their own donation campaigns and increase the number of blood [stem cell] donors nationwide.”

Meeting with local MP

Zainab has received much support in her hometown, and plans to meet her local MP in the next few days. Dame Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden in the West Midlands, said:  “I am delighted that Zainab Garba-Sani’s good work raising awareness and funds for international blood cancer charity ‘DKMS’, particularly in the BAME community where there is currently less than a 20% chance of finding a matching donor, has been recognised.

"We are so lucky to have such a strong young woman in our community and she is an inspiration.”

Shafia Begam, Senior Volunteer Manager at DKMS, said: “We are delighted that Zainab has been recognised for her hard work in recruiting potential blood stem cell donors. We couldn’t do the work we do without volunteers like Zainab and we are grateful for her dedication in helping the fight against blood cancer.”

How you can help

Anyone between the ages of 17-55 and in good general health can go on standby potentially to save a life. Check your eligibility and sign up as a potential blood stem cell donor today.

Find out how you can volunteer with DKMS.