Tag Archive: blood donation

You Could Help Give Someone a Second Chance of Life

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Thanks to a stranger six-year-old Gaurav Bains survived his fight against a rare blood disorder. You can register to be a potential lifesaver too.

In June 2013 Gaurav was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, called infantile monosomy 7 syndrome. His family were told that he’d urgently need a bone marrow transplant in order to prevent leukaemia from developing.

Around 30% of patients in need of a blood stem cell or bone marrow donation are lucky enough to find a matching donor within their own family. However, unfortunately Gaurav’s parents, Gurprit and Sandip, and his sister, Kiran, were not a match. Like in Gaurav’s case and 70% of patients living with a blood cancer he needed to find his match from a stranger to have a second chance of life.

The search was on to find a match for Gaurav but it was made even harder due to his south Asian heritage – there are relatively few potential donors from minority ethnicities on the UK blood stem cell donor registry. The blood cancer charity DKMS exists to find lifesaving blood stem cell donors for anyone in need.

Luckily a match was found in November 2013 and the bone marrow transplant took place on 19 December of the same year. At the beginning of 2017 Gaurav and his family travelled to Germany to meet his lifesaving stranger, Stefan, so they could thank him in person.

Finding lifesavers

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Yet less than half of the UK population are aware of blood cancer issues.

There is no single cure for blood cancers. But, a blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person can often be the best, and last, option for treatment.

There are two methods which blood stem cells are collected; around 90% of donations are taken from peripheral stem cells collections through the blood stream or a donation of bone marrow is collected from the back of the pelvic bone.

The need for more Asian donors

The chance of being diagnosed with a blood cancer is not the same for everyone. The majority of registered blood stem cell donors in the UK are white northern Europeans, people of other ethnicities may have less chance of surviving blood cancer because it is harder to find a matching donor.

Latest figures show the proportion of people of Asian heritage on the national blood stem cell registry is just 5%, while white northern Europeans make up 78% of the potentially available donors.

Help the fight against blood cancer

That’s why DKMS has launched its latest campaign – to raise awareness and encourage more people to join the fight and ‘swab to be a lifesaver’.

Gaurav’s dad Sandip Bains said: “We were so overwhelmed when we were told there was a match for Gaurav. The gratitude that you feel towards a complete stranger knowing they have given your son a second chance of life is one we will never forget.

“The fact we were lucky enough to be able to thank Stefan in person was incredible and we will forever be grateful. For me to be able to share another father’s day, birthday and Christmas with Gaurav is an incredible feeling. Until the problem hits home we were completely oblivious, that’s why the work DKMS does in raising awareness of blood cancer and the need for blood stem cell donors is so important.”

How you can help

If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health please sign up for a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk and go on standby to save the life of someone just like you.

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The big blood donating drive

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A nationwide campaign aims to raise at least 500 units of blood which can save 1500 lives.

5000 members of AMYA, based at Al-Mahdi Mosque have been encouraged to sign up to NHS Give Blood and book an appointment.

Organiser Sultan Khan said: "Islam teaches that to take one life is akin to killing all mankind and to save one life is like saving all of humanity.

“So we hope that by donating blood, we'll not only be serving our country but also our faith.

“A terrorist may kill a few people but we are here to give life to hundreds.

“This way we engage and activate our youth teaching them that love and service to one's nation is part of faith.”

“So far the initiative has attracted more than 150 donations, potentially saving 450 lives.

“It's part of the greater 'love for all hatred for none' campaign designed to bring communities together.”

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Stick a needle in it: Bradford-man ready to donate blood for an astounding 175th time

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GRATEFUL: Long-term donor Thakorbhai Mistry with Mr Harkishan Mistry, UK Project Manager for Sewa Day

GRATEFUL: Long-term donor Thakorbhai Mistry with Mr Harkishan Mistry, UK Project Manager for Sewa Day

 

An unsung hero has given a whole new meaning to ‘doing your bit’ for charity.

Yorkshireman, Thakorbhai Rambhai Mistry has been giving blood for the last 36-years, donating (get ready for it) an incredible 174 units of blood in this time!

Now he’s all ready to stick a needle in it again in the hope that it will inspire people from ethnic backgrounds to donate blood and possibly save someone’s life.

Thakorbhai’s remarkable 175th donation will take place on 30th March and is tied in with the Sewa Day National Blood Donation Drive.

Speaking to the Asian Express spoke to Thakorbhai, aged 62, discloses just what it is that motivates him to keep going back and what got him into blood donation in the first place.

“Whilst working in the University of Bradford in 1981, I noticed my colleague would often disappear for an hour or so and I started to ask questions as to where he was going. I was surprised to find out that he was going to donate blood,” reveals Thakorbhai.

“The University of Bradford were and still are, a really responsible employer, and were happy for their employees to take time away from their work in order to give blood.

“After having some questions initially such as, ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘Will it take a long time?’ and ‘Will I feel weak?’ I attended the next donation with the reassurance of my colleague.

“I haven’t stopped since then because I know it will benefit others, including my family and members of my wider community, especially as there is such a shortage in Black and Minority Ethnicity donors and blood types.

“I do it on a regularly because the blood I give is replenished within a few days and only takes an hour of my time.”

Mr Mistry says he has never felt unwell after giving blood and feels it’s an insurance, as it means blood is checked on a regular basis, meaning any potential illnesses could be detected.

 


Feeling inspired to help an incredible cause? Thakorbhai gIveS us some essential advice for first time donors

  • Go with someone you know and feel comfortable with. “Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague, going with someone familiar will help you feel more relaxed.”
  • Being fit and healthy, looking after your diet and exercising regularly will go a long way in ensuring you have a great reaction to donating. “ I make sure I am careful with my diet and like to lead an active lifestyle, this has definitely helped me in being able to donate for such a long time. Although don’t push it too much on your donation day, you don’t want to be too tired!”
  • Find out information beforehand if you’re curious about the process. “Back in my day, there were leaflets available at the donation centre which were great for providing more information. These leaflets are still available if you go along to a centre – although you can find out everything online nowadays!”
  • It’s understandable to build up a sense fear and apprehension before going along, but there’s nothing to worry about. “Once you donate that first time and realise what amazing, life changing work that unit will do for someone, you will realise there was never anything to fear!”

 

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