DKMS BMST Foundation India organized a donor registration drive at India’s Largest Community Drawing & Painting Festival
Robo Ganesh a variety entertainer and an actor takes pledge to support blood cancer patients and registered as stem cell donor
Bengaluru, 8th August 2022: DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders, conducted a blood stem cell donor registration drive at Hosachigauru Colorothon, Season 14, India’s Largest Community Drawing & Painting Festival. The foundation aimed to raise awareness on blood stem cell donation and encouraged people to register themselves as a potential lifesaver to help blood cancer and blood disorder patients. Many youngsters including artists came forward to register as a potential stem cell donor. Robo Ganesh an entertainer and actor came forward to register as lifesaver.
Every 5 minutes, someone in India receives the shattering news that they have been diagnosed with blood cancer or blood disorder such as Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia. Most often a blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor is the only chance at survival for such patients. But, majority of the patients are unable to receive lifesaving stem cell transplant due to the unavailability of a matching blood stem cell donor. With very few individuals signing up as potential blood stem cell donors the probability of finding a matching donor gets difficult. This increases the need for more and more people of Indian ethnicity to register themselves and help save a life.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, said, “For many patients, the search for a matching blood stem cell donor is the beginning of a race against time. Our focus is always on registering as many committed donors as possible. So far, DKMS-BMST has registered over 70,000 potential donors and has helped 66 Indian patients with a second chance at life. But, this is just the beginning!”
Speaking on the drive and the initiative taken by DKMS BMST Foundation India, Dr. Govind Eriat Nair, Consultant Hematology Hemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bengaluru said, “For a stem cell transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matched donor is required. About only 25%-30% of the times HLA matched donors will be available within the family; however, in the rest, we have to look for a matched “unrelated” donor. Chances of finding a fully matched unrelated donor is one in a million; hence, having a large pool of unrelated donors is required to be able to find a matched donor for a particular patient. Stem cell registries like DKMS-BMST recruits such unrelated voluntary donors and helps thousands of patients who require stem cell transplant.”
One of the artists at Colorothon expressed, “I feel proud that I am given a chance to save someone’s life. Such initiatives reflect our commitment to the betterment of the society. It is the greatest gift one can give to the mankind. The process was very simple wherein you just have to give your cheek swab sample and sign a consent form. I request all the fellow artists and youths to be part of the noble cause.”
Donor’s swab samples are analyzed for HLA and the data is the available for global search for patients in need. Once a donor comes as a match, they are asked to donate their blood stem cells through a process similar to blood platelet donation.
In India, many blood cancer patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell transplant. Hence, there is a need for increased and continuous awareness amongst the people about blood stem cell donation so more people can register themselves. From time to time, DKMS BMST Foundation India conducts such patient-donor drives across the country to encourage registration and spread awareness.
Healthy individuals between the age-group of 18-50 can register as potential blood stem cell donor at www.dkms-bmst.org/register