Volunteers highlight need for more Asian and Sikh donors and raise £34,000
The huge disparity between the 37% chances of Asian individuals finding their stem cell match and the 72% chances of those from Northern European ethnic backgrounds needs to change.
Earlier in October, DKMS volunteers based in the West Midlands took up the cause. Dedicated volunteer Manj Kaur explains, "We can't wait until it hits close to home to take action."
On 14 October, Manj and other volunteers welcomed 400 guests to a sold-out, black-tie awareness and fundraising evening at Birmingham’s Manor Grove banqueting hall. They celebrated having registered more than 500 people – predominately from the Asian community – as potential stem cell donors over the past year, whilst highlighting the need for even more people to do so.
Manj has a very personal reason for having joined DKMS’ longest-established volunteering hub in 2018.
She says, "Having witnessed the devastating impact of cancer on my own family, losing my husband and my mother, I've seen first-hand the urgent need for a diverse donor pool.."
Hosted by Harjap Bhangal, the 14 October event Manj and fellow volunteers helped organise saw guests enjoying a cocktail reception, followed by a three-course dinner. They danced to performances from PBN, Sardara Gill, Ultimate Bangra, Dr Tabla, Beat Asylum, and USR.
There was also a raffle, along with live and silent auctions of sporting memorabilia ranging from a signed Manchester United shirt and a prize belt donated by Tyson Fury to a cricket bat signed by India vs England players. The evening raised a magnificent £34,000 to support DKMS’s mission to delete blood cancer.
Manj concludes: “We need more people from Asian and other ethnic minority communities to become potential stem cell donors. If you are aged 17-55 and in general good health, you can find out more about how to register as a donor.