West Midlands community register as potential lifesavers

2 July 2017

On Sunday 2 July we were encouraging people in the West Midlands to go on standby to help save the life of someone living with a blood cancer. Nearly 130 people swabbed to be a lifesaver and registered as a potential blood stem cell donor at our donor recruitment event in Birmingham's city centre.

Hyesha Kaur Rahanu, 28, from Edgbaston, attended the event with her mother, Amarjit, and sister, Rishika, (pictured) after a rare condition that she lives with, kikuchis lymphadenitis, was mis-diagnosed as high grade peripheral t-cell non-hodgkins lymphoma. She said: “When I was initially given the diagnosis of lymphoma it had a huge impact on my life, body and soul. It took me months to finally get the correct diagnosis and after this I wanted to support DKMS and the important work they do to recruit potential blood stem cell donors. As a family we were keen to support as much as possible and were delighted we were able to help register people.”

A big thank you to the Birmingham community for their support with our registration event and to everyone who registered as a potential blood stem cell donor on the day.

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK but less than half of the UK population are aware of blood cancer issues.

A blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can often be the best hope of survival for someone with a blood cancer but only one in three people in need of a transplant will find a matching donor in their own family.

We have registered over 300,000 people in the UK as potential blood stem cell donors and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has gone on standby to save a life.

However, less than 5% of donors in the UK have a south Asian heritage and less than 3% of donors are black. This means that people of minority ethnicities face severe inequality in their search for a donor with a similar tissue type to theirs.

At DKMS, we are determined to change this and give everyone the best possible chance of overcoming blood cancer. With our latest advertising campaign, we are urging people from all backgrounds to ‘swab to be a lifesaver’ and we have been running adverts across Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton since May this year.

DKMS latest blood cancer awareness campaign encouraging people to register as potential blood stem cell donors

If you didn't make it to our event in Birmingham but are interested in joining the stem cell register check our ‘swab to be a lifesaver’ campaign and find out how it works.

Together we can save more lives!