Mumbai, 23 September 2022: Kevin, resident of Mumbai, helped save the life of a blood cancer patient by donating his blood stem cell. Kevin had registered with DKMS BMST Foundation India in January 2021 and just within a year he got the opportunity to save a precious life. Kevin registered as a potential blood stem cell donor during a donor registration drive conducted at his sister’s college by DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders such as Thalassemia and Aplastic Anemia.
Talking about his inspiring journey, Kevin says, “It was indeed a very happy moment for me when I came to know that I was a perfect match for a patient. Giving someone a shot at life at the expense of few days of my discomfort seemed like a no-brainer to me. We are often not grateful for what we have but there are people who have to fight for the simple gift of life. I would definitely encourage more people especially youngsters to come forward and register as donors. A small part on our end can be lifesaving for someone. I was so impressed with the support DKMS-BMST offered me and they made the process as calm and smooth as possible.”
Over 10000 people from Maharashtra have already registered as potential blood stem cell donors with DKMS-BMST stem cell registry and over 70000 are registered across India. The foundation has also facilitated 70 blood stem cell transplants in the last three years across India.
Dr. Santanu Sen from Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital said that “Showing exemplary compassion towards blood cancer patients, the youngster took the crucial step of blood stem cell donation and soon after a few months of registering, he got a chance to save someone’s life. Over the last two decades, better diagnosis and disease awareness has led to a definite increase in incidence of blood cancer in India, especially in patients belonging to lower socio-economic strata. These patients are being diagnosed at advanced stage of the disease, leading to higher morbidity and mortality. A large number of patients from underprivileged sections and remote locations go undiagnosed and the incidences are not reported.”
Dr Nitin Agarwal, HOD, Donor Request Management, DKMS BMST Foundation India “In India, we see almost one lakh new cases of blood cancer and blood disorders every year. Being September is observed as Blood Cancer Awareness month all over the world, we would like to raise awareness about the disease and how Blood stem cell transplant can give a second chance at life to blood cancer patients”.
“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 Kevin to come forward and register as a potential donor.” Says Dr Nitin Agarwal.
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.