Helping the fight against blood cancer this Volunteers’ Week

1 June 2018

This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we wanted to thank the volunteers that have gone above and beyond helping us in the fight against blood cancer.

Since the launch of the volunteer project in April 2015, our volunteers across the country have helped to organise 74 registration events, registered 3,671 potential blood stem cell donors, of which 3 have gone on to be lifesavers and given someone a second at life.

Lifesaver volunteer

Our latest volunteer Florian, 34, did just that! Originally from Germany, he first registered with DKMS in 2015 and moved to Cambridge the following year. That same year he donated his blood stem cells to a complete stranger – a 53 year-old Swiss person.

He works as a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Cambridge and since autumn last year he’s been playing a crucial role in helping to recruit more potential lifesavers in Cambridge and the surrounding areas.

Florian said: “I wanted to volunteer after my blood stem cell donation experience ended up saving somebody’s life. For me it was one of the easiest things I could have done and I would encourage others to register to become a potential lifesaver.”

“Having gone through the process of being identified as a match for someone, I can say that it’s the greatest feeling. Having a science background really helps when I’m talking to people and taking them through the registration process. This year I’m keen to organise even more registration events and I hope that I may see you at one.”

Cambridge Hub: (L-R) Prashanth Ciryam, Florian Buhr and Yew Wei Tan

Giving something back

Lauren has been volunteering with us since last year and has helped organise events to encourage people in the South West area including Swindon, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the Cotswold to become potential lifesavers.

She was keen to give something back after her mum was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2006. After years of fighting the condition and numerous rounds of chemotherapy she thankfully went into remission in 2010.

Lauren said: “I know my mum was incredibly lucky that her condition was maintained by chemotherapy and we are so thankful. I felt I wanted to give something back.

“I had worked as an event volunteer before and whilst I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel it made any impact. I wanted to do more and volunteering with DKMS gives me that flexibility. You get to see tangible results, as you know that you’re helping to register more people that could make a real difference.”

A cousin in need

Bansari’s cousin was diagnosed with lymphoma and needed a lifesaver transplant – thankfully they found a matching donor.

Bansari said: “My cousin’s life was saved thanks to someone who registered as a potential blood stem cell donor.”

In 2016 Bansari saw a volunteering opportunity with us on do-it.org and has been a key volunteer for our West Midlands hub ever since.

Bansari said: “I started volunteering just over two years ago. I wanted to do find a volunteering opportunity that was more than just raising money. DKMS stood out to me as to me as it gave me the flexibility.

“People can be quite sceptical when you first approach them, assuming you'll ask for money and not willing to give you time. Once you get a chance to explain to them what the charity is actually about, they are much happier to listen.

“If you are able to be a donor, then please do read about it and consider how you could potentially save a life. It does not take long at all and it could be someone you love that needs a match.”

West Midlands Hub (Bansari wearing white DKMS t-shirt)

A huge thank you

Shafia Begam, Senior Volunteer Manager said: “We couldn’t do the work we do without all our amazing volunteers. Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity to thank them all for their dedication in helping the fight against blood cancer.”

How you can help

All our volunteers are keen to raise awareness of the importance of blood stem cell donations. Anyone between the ages of 17-55 and in good general health can go on standby to potentially save a life. Check your eligibility and sign up as a potential blood stem cell donor today.

Interested in volunteering for us – find out more information on your local hubs or why not start a group of your own?