DKMS and #LetsNailBloodCancer
This September marks Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Those London Chicks is joining DKMS, a blood cancer charity, to support their #LetsNailBloodCancer campaign and help the fight against blood cancer.
So, what exactly is blood cancer?
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma. It’s the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK yet there is still a lack of awareness.
For many people diagnosed with a blood cancer, a blood stem cell donation from a matching donor will be their best or only chance of survival. Yet only one in three people in need of a blood stem cell donation will find a suitable matching donor within their own family, so they have to rely on an unrelated donor.
At any one time there are around 2,000 people in the UK and approximately 37,000 people worldwide searching for their lifesaver each year – the charity exists to help them find their matching donor.
This month sees the launch of #LetsNailBloodCancer which will help to raise awareness of blood cancer and encourage more people to register as a potential lifesaver.
Why not get your friends, family members or colleagues together and lend a hand in helping the fight against blood cancer by hosting a mani-pedicure party? You can sign-up online at dkms.org.uk/letsnailbloodcancer.
Events like these are so important in helping raise vital funds as the charity doesn’t receive government funding and relies on monetary donations to cover donor recruitment costs. £40 is all it takes, recruit and register one potential blood stem cell donor. Help register more by making a £10 donation, please text NAILS to 70191 or make an online donation.
Swab to be a lifesaver
The charity has registered more than 7.5 million potential blood stem cell donors worldwide, including more than 300,000 people in the UK – which is a huge achievement but despite these figures people are still urgently searching for their potential lifesaver.
More people are needed to go on standby to save the life of someone like you and here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can help:
- If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health you can register for your home swab kit online at DKMS.org.uk
- Fill out the form and swab the inside of your cheeks to collect cells to be analysed to demine your human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing.
The patient and donor must have at least eight HLA characteristics in common to be considered a match but ideally should have 12. With more than 16,000 known characteristics that can occur in millions of combinations, finding a match is extremely rare.
It’s likely that a matching donor will share the same ethnicity but there are substantially fewer ethnically diverse potential donors on the UK aligned stem cell registry making the search even harder for black, Asian and mixed race patients.
What happens if you’re a match?
Within the next 10 years there is a 4-5% chance that a donor will be a match for a patient living with a blood cancer.
If you’re a matching donor – after further tests you will be asked to donate in one of two ways and you should be willing to donate via both methods.
- In 90% of cases a peripheral blood stem cell donation is the chosen method – this process means that stem cells are collected via the blood stream.
In order to increase the number of cells in the blood stream a donor will receive a daily injection (G-CSF) to stimulate stem cell productions four consecutive days prior.
On the day of donation, the donor’s blood is collected and passed through a machine that separates the stem cells and the remaining blood is returned to the donor.
- For the remaining 10% of transplants these are done by a bone marrow donation.
Marrow cells are collected from the hip bone. This is a one to two hour inpatient procedure under general anaesthetic.
Because of the selfless act of the donors and the charity more than 64,000 people around the world have received a potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donation – that’s a daily average of 19.
This Blood Cancer Awareness Month – you can help make a difference and together #LetsNailBloodCancer.
Sign up to #LetsNailBloodCancer
Visit www.dkms.org.uk/en or follow DKMS on:
Or if you would simply like to make a gift; click the pic below!