Hyderabad, 23rd September 2022: Rizwan, hailing from Hyderabad recently donated his blood stem cells to save a patient suffering from blood cancer. He had registered as a potential blood stem cell donor in 2016 during a donor registration drive conducted in Hyderabad by DKMS BMST Foundation India.
Narrating his experience, Rizwan says, “As human we must come forward to help each other, I feel good that I was able to help save a life. When DKMS-BMST contacted me, I felt good that my life can be of use to someone in need. Blood stem cell donation is similar to blood platelet donation, it was a simple process took approximately 4 hours to complete. As healthy individuals we should consider it as an opportunity to help those who aren’t fortunate to have a healthy life. I urge people to register themselves in large numbers so that we can all contribute towards saving lives of blood cancer and disorder patients through stem cell donation.”
Rizwan showed exemplary compassion towards blood cancer patient and readily agreed for donating his stem cells. Initially, there was some resistance from the family, but ultimately Rizwan’s will prevailed, and he convinced his family about the good cause.
Today, over 3000 people from Andhra Pradesh have registered with DKMS-BMST stem cell registry and more than 70000 people from all over India. The foundation has also facilitated 70 blood stem cell transplants in the last three years across India.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, “In India, we see almost one lakh new cases of blood cancer and blood disorders every year. Despite this huge burden, the number of Indians that are registered in stem cell registries are significantly lower than many other countries. A stem cell transplant is likely to be successful only if the donor’s HLA type is a close match to that of the patient. Only about 30% of the patients can find a sibling match and the rest 70% depend on finding a matching unrelated donor. There is a possibility of finding the perfect match from a donor of the same ethnicity. Unfortunately, patients of Indian ethnicity have a hard time finding a matching donor due to lack of potential donors in Indian registries. Hence, there is an urgent need for youngsters like Rizwan to come forward and register as a potential donor.”
In India, the percentage of people who know about blood stem cell transplant as a lifesaving treatment modality is abysmal. When some needs a stem cell transplant, their odd of finding a match is more amongst people of similar ethnicity. For Indian patients having a large donor registry comprising people of Indian registry will ensure that more people who can benefit from this treatment modality can find genetic matches. According to World Marrow Donor Association, there are over 40 million donors registered across the globe and only 0.5 million of these are from India. India is an ancient population with a diverse ethnicity, therefor it becomes very important that more and more people from varied ethnic background to come forward to register as a stem cell donor.
Interested citizens between 18-50 age-group can register at: dkms-bmst.org/register
All it takes is five minutes of your time and a simple 3 step process:
Step 1: Visit the site, fill up an online form and you will receive a DIY swab kit at home.
Step 2: Once you receive the swab kit, fill out the consent form and take a tissue sample from the inside of your cheeks with 3 cotton swabs provided in the kit.
Step 3: Send back your swab sample in the pre-paid envelope provided.
DKMS laboratory will then analyze your tissue type and your details will be available in the global search for blood stem cell donors. If you do come up as a suitable donor, DKMS-BMST will get in touch with you straight away. Your blood stem cells will be collected from the bloodstream via Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection process, which is similar to a blood platelet donation wherein only your stem cells are taken. This is a safe, non-surgical outpatient process.