Kolkata: To raise awareness about the significance of blood stem cell donation and motivate young individuals to register as potential lifesavers, DKMS BMST Foundation India collaborated with the Rotary District 3291 to spread awareness about the importance of stem cell transplantation for blood cancer and blood disorder patients.
Distinguished members from Rotary District 3291 came together to register as potential stem cell donors in order to inspire the youth to become potential lifesavers by enrolling in the global registry of stem cell donors.
In India, where over 1,00,000 people succumb to blood cancer annually, yet only 30% of patients needing a stem cell transplant can find HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen-tissue type) matching donors within their families.
More than 70% of patients are looking for unrelated donors, but due to lack of awareness, only 0.04% of the Indian population is registered as potential stem cell donors. Given the significance of ethnic matching, the probability of Indian patients finding a suitable stem cell donor is significantly higher when seeking donors among fellow Indians.
Underscoring the pressing scarcity of blood stem cell donors in the nation, Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, said, “Every five minutes, a new case of blood cancer or a blood disorder, such as Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia, is diagnosed in India. The availability of compatible blood stem cell donors remains a significant challenge for Indian patients needing life-saving transplants.”
Patrick Paul said, “Presently, with over 41 million registered donors worldwide, India accounts for just 0.6 million. Numerous patients are in desperate need of a suitable stem cell donor for life-saving transplants. Our objective, in collaboration with Rotary Club 3291, is to enhance awareness about blood stem cell donation amongst various sections of the society.”
District Governor, Rtn Hira Lal Yadav, Rotary District 3291, said, “I am delighted that Rotary District 3291 has joined forces with DKMS-BMST to spread awareness about peripheral stem cell donation. We highly value DKMS-BMST contributions in aiding blood cancer and blood disorder patients.”
Rtn Hira Lal Yadav said, “We firmly believe that if we ignite the spark within us, we can look beyond ourselves and give someone a second chance at life. There is nothing more extraordinary than the act of saving a life. As an institution, we take great pride in being part of an initiative that raises public awareness about the significance of registering as a blood stem cell donor and its profound impact on a patient’s life.”
Dr. Jeevan Kumar, Sr. Consultant-Department of Clinical Hematology and BMT, Tata Medical Center, said, “Every year, about 65,000 new searches are initiated worldwide for an unrelated matching donor, but in India, only 0.04% of people are registered as potential stem cell donors. India has one of the highest ratios of searches that do not result in transplantation. This gap can be bridged only when more and more people from different ethnicities in India are a part of the donor registry maintained by organizations such as DKMS-BMST.”
Today, more than 41 million potential unrelated donors are listed worldwide with stem cell donor centres and registries, of which only 0.04% are Indians. This situation can only be changed by recruiting more potential blood stem cell donors from India. Registration takes only 5 minutes of your time. If you’re between 18 and 55 years and in general good health, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register.