World Marrow Donor Day is celebrated worldwide on September 19 every year, a day which is celebrated to particularly to thank the blood stem donors who have donated or are on a global registry waiting to donate their blood stem cells for the patients who are in need of life through a stem cell transplant. A second life can be given to the blood cancer patients, and about 70%- 90% of successful blood stem transplants are done depending upon their health conditions and the donor type.
World Marrow Donor Day is not only celebrated to thank the blood stem donors but also is a day recognized to spread awareness over a large number of the population who are unaware of it who believes all sort of myths about it and raise the importance of this.
DKMS BMST Foundation India
DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization is working hard towards increasing the blood stem cell donors for the representation of Indians in the global database and to raise awareness and to help Indian patients all over. The mission is to provide a second life to such patients with blood disorders as much as possible. As of now, they have registered over 42,000 potential lifesavers and 28 patient’s life have been saved under this.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, says, “Due to lack of awareness and diverse ethnicity, India faces a huge gap in demand and supply. For a blood stem cell transplant to succeed, it is important that the HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) of the donor and patient match. Only about 30% of the patients in need of a stem cell transplant as a life-saving treatment are able to find a sibling match. The rest 70% depend on finding a matching unrelated donor. We are forever indebted to all the people who have registered as potential blood stem cell donors. Their altruism is a reminder that the capacity for human kindness is boundless,”
Maheer , a 14-year old boy got his second chance and is leading a normal life today, just like any other child his age after the stem cell transplant. After consulting a doctor the family got to know of the blood stem cell transplant process and how Maheer could survive with the help of blood stem cells from an unrelated donor. He was able to find his matching blood stem cell donor Dr. Sita who hails from Germany.
All across the world, there are about 37 million potential blood stem cell donors for patients in need of a transplant. These donors are a big hope and positivity for the patients and families who are lucky to get a second chance from these donors. But in a country like India it is a big challenge to find donors as out 37 million only 0.03% are Indians have registered as potential blood stem cell donors in India.
Therefore a country with a population over 1.3 billion where there are incidences of increasing blood cancer or other blood disorders like thalassemia and aplastic anemia, increases the alarm for awareness and becomes important to register themselves as a potential blood stem cell donor and help save a life.
Mohd. Saifullah, father to a 4-year-old Thalassemia survivor who underwent a blood stem cell transplant said “We went to multiple doctors trying to assess the problem and to find a matching donor who could save her life. Receiving this transplant was the only chance of survival for my daughter and we are forever indebted to Debojyoti, a 28-years-old software professional, whose HLA type matched our daughter’s.”
DKMS-BMST has been successful to organize over 1,000donor registration in the last one year across various organizations such as corporates, educational institutes, hospitals, and defense forces to spread awareness about blood stem cell donation and enroll more potential donors.
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”.