Patients from BAME communities only have a 20% chance of finding a donor

The PEP Network dedicated to black professional & entrepreneurial women has partnered with DKMS UK to encourage more people within BAME communities to join the blood stem cell register.

Unfortunately, blood cancers don’t know about coronavirus. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on stem cell donor registrations with DKMS and our numbers are down by a staggering 50% compared to this time last year. We desperately need your help.

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Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. To be told you have cancer is devastating, and even more so during the pandemic, when we've have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically. It is crucial that we come together to do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. Now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of survival 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. That could be you.

Shahera's Story

Shahera has a very rare immunodeficiency disorder which means she can’t produce enough white blood cells and fight off infections. Her family has been told that a blood stem cell donation is her best chance of survival.

None of Shahera’s family members are a match, so the search is on for an unrelated donor.

“We just want her to be cured soon so she can have a happy, healthy, long life. We don’t want her to miss out on anything,” says Shahera’s mum, Amina.

“Looking at her picture, you wouldn’t believe she was ill. You can’t really tell, but what is going on inside is a totally different story."

“It’s shocking that there is no match for Shahera and other people from Asian backgrounds.”

DKMS is committed to giving all patients a second chance at life. If you’re aged 17-55 and in general good health, request a swab kit to become a potential blood stem cell donor today.

In the UK, only 2% of the UK population are on the blood stem cell register. People from BAME backgrounds make up less than 14% of registrations. Even more shocking is that people from minority ethnic backgrounds have just a 20% chance of finding a stem cell donor match compared to 69% from those of a Northern European background.

Blood stem cell transplants are sometimes the only hope of survival for those diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder. A transplant can also be used for treating other conditions such as Sickle Cell disease, Thalassaemia and other auto-immune conditions.

Sadly, many people from BAME backgrounds with blood cancer face significant challenges in finding a suitable match. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough BAME people registered as donors. DKMS works hard to increase the size and diversity of the blood stem cell registry.

Last year in the UK, there were cases where no suitable donors from Black, African-Caribbean, East Asian and some other minority ethnic backgrounds were available to patients of the same ethnicities. We want to change this now and for the future so people from BAME communities have the same chances as everyone else.

If you are from a BAME community, your decision to register and commit to donate, could give a person with blood cancer at second chance at life.

Let’s change these statistics together and change lives. Every donor could make a difference. You could make a difference.

A two minute swab of the inside of your cheek is all it takes to get registered. It’s that simple!

**(source: UK Aligned Registry Report 2018-19)

It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.

If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.

Information about registration

Registering as a blood stem cell donor is easy, simply check your eligibility and request your home swab kit. Once you receive the kit, you will need to swab the inside of your cheek, following the instructions on the pack, before sending them back to us. Once we receive your swabs, they are processed in our lab to determine you tissue typing. Your typing is then stored, in an anonymised form, on the global database. This means you can be identified as a match for anyone in the world

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.