DKMS-BMST Foundation India completes one year of operation in India – Express Healthcare

Posted: June 3, 2020 at 6:49 pm

Celebrates milestone with registration of over 42,000 potential life savers in same time period in country

This World Blood Cancer Day, DKMS-BMST celebrates a milestone of registering over 42,000 potential lifesavers in a time period of one year in India. This group comprises of individuals who range from 18-50 years of age and have pledged to donate their blood stem cells to a blood cancer patient in need.

Focussed on helping patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders, DKMS-BMST has been able to save28unique lives in this period of one year including children diagnosed with blood cancer and other blood disorders like thalassemia.

Patients affected by blood cancer or thalassemia need a blood stem cell donation. Worldwide, only 30 per cent of them can find a match within their families and hence there is a dire need to find an unrelated donor. We started our operations in India last year with an intent to add potential blood stem cell donors of Indian ethnicity to the global database, so that patients (especially from this unique ethnicity) living in different parts of the world have a fair chance of finding a match and probably gain a second chance at life. We cannot thank enough, the people who are on-board and are helping us spread the word to add more and more people to this database,said Paul Patrick, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India.

Sharing his experience Mohd Saifulla, father to a 4-year-old thalassemia survivor said We went to multiple doctors trying to assess the problem our child had and thereafter to find a matching donor who could save her life. Receiving this transplant was the only chance of life for my daughter and we can never thank Debojyoti, a 28 year old software professional, enough, who donated his blood stem cells that matched our daughter. It is only because of organisations such as DKMS-BMST that people are coming forward to donate blood stem cells and save a life. My entire family is indebted to them for lifetime. Today my daughter is living a happy and healthy life and we are preparing to celebrate her fifth birthday this year that seemed like a dream to us up till a few years back.

Last year on World Blood Cancer Day, DKMS, one of the largest international blood stem cell donor centres in the world dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders joined forces with Bangalore Medical Service Trust (BMST), a centre of excellence in blood banking, transfusion and immunohaematology adding India to the largest global repository of potential blood stem cell donors in the world. Every year, over 100,000 people in India are diagnosed with blood cancer or a blood disorder such asthalassemia or aplastic anaemia. Such life-threatening conditions can be managed by infusing a set of healthy blood stem cells from a suitable match. Since,ethnicity plays a crucial role in finding a matching donor, the ratio of potential blood stem cell donors from India needs to rise significantly, said Dr Latha Jagannathan, Director, DKMS BMST Foundation India.

Harsh, a blood stem cell donor registered with the foundation said,With very limited knowledge about blood stem cells I believed they were present only in the bone marrow and extracting them was a complex process. But to my surprise, the process is very similar to blood platelet donation. I strongly feel that anyone who is made aware that a simple process with zero complications can give you a chance to save a life will not hesitate from committing themselves towards the cause.

Capturing the challenges, the NGO faced in the country,Patrick said,We realised very early in India that a decision of this nature is not alone of the donor, but also involves his / her family. Hence, explaining the process, inculcating right awareness to break myths, updating people on the technological advances of blood stem cell donation and counselling them with medical experts has been our modus operandi in the country. Thus far, we have been able to conduct many physical drives to reach out to people urging them to register as potential donors. We plan to expand our reach to many more regions this year so that we are able to add potential donors from varied population groups in the country.

DKMS-BMST has organised over 1000donor registration drives in one year across various organisations such as corporates, educational institutes, hospitals and defence forces to spread awareness about blood stem cell donation and enroll more potential donors. Few names where physical drives have been conducted includes Mindtree, HSBC, HP enterprises, Christ University, RV College of Engineering, apart from public drives at Orion Mall Bengaluru, Lalbagh Botanical Garden etc.

In the current lockdown situation, the team is working tirelessly to ensure that patients whose donations were scheduled do not face any challenges and are organising awareness sessions through webinars and calling for registrations through the online portal:www.dkms-bmst.org/register.

Link:
DKMS-BMST Foundation India completes one year of operation in India - Express Healthcare

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