The NGO collaborated with India’s Largest Space-Technology Festival as its official social initiative partner
Kharagpur, 9th October 2023: In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of blood stem cell donation and inspire individuals to become potential lifesavers, DKMS-BMST Foundation India organized a registration drive for stem cell donors during the ‘National Students’ Space Challenge (NSSC),’ India’s largest Space-Technology festival, hosted at IIT Kharagpur.
Inspired by the legacy of Kalpana Chawla, IIT Kharagpur continues to drive space technology advancement, and empower young talents to showcase innovations and scientific curiosity under the theme “Fora Galaxia.”
As the festival’s official social initiative partner, DKMS-BMST set out to encourage students to become potential lifesavers by enlisting in the global registry of stem cell donors. The response was overwhelming, with over 250 students registering and expressing their commitment to this noble cause. The 3-day fest was a huge success with eminent Dr. V. Narayana, Director, Department of Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, ISRO gracing the event as the guest speaker.
In India, where over 70,000 people succumb to blood cancer annually, accounting for 8% of all new cancer cases, a blood stem cell transplant from an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matching donor is often the only hope. However, only 25-30% of patients in need can find HLA matching donors within their family, leaving 70% dependent on unrelated donors, accessible through stem cell registries. 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.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS-BMST Foundation India, emphasized the critical shortage of blood stem cell donors in the country, “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 matching blood stem cell donors remains a significant challenge for Indian patients in need of life-saving transplants. Currently, with over 41 million registered donors worldwide, India contributes just 0.6 million donors. India being the youngest population, it is crucial to encourage more young individuals to register as stem cell donors. Our aim is to amplify awareness about blood stem cell donation through students and youth, as they represent the future of the nation.”
Priyansh Agarwal, Sponsorship and Marketing Head, organizing committee, National Students’ Space Challenge 2023, IIT Kharagpur, said, ‘’I am delighted that NSCC’ 2023 has joined forces with DKMS-BMST as the social initiative partner. We highly value their contributions in aiding blood cancer and blood disorder patients. We firmly believe in the immense potential of today’s youth to inspire their peers toward this noble endeavour. There is nothing more extraordinary than the act of saving a life, and 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.’’
Khalid, a stem cell donor from Kolkata who selflessly saved a blood cancer patient by donating his stem cells, was also present at the event to share his inspiring experience and encourage students to register as potential lifesavers.
‘’We extend our heartfelt gratitude to IIT Kharagpur and its dedicated students for their invaluable support in orchestrating this registration drive. DKMS-BMST is committed to hosting numerous similar awareness and registration campaigns at educational institutions nationwide, with a particular focus on the youth demographic. Their sustained presence in the registry significantly enhances the likelihood of finding matching donors for patients in need’’ said, Patrick Paul, CEO of 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.
About DKMS-BMST Foundation India
A non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders, such as thalassemia and aplastic anaemia. Our aim is to improve the situation of patients suffering from blood cancer and other blood disorders in India and throughout the world, by raising awareness about blood stem cell transplantation and registering potential blood stem cell donors. By doing this, DKMS-BMST provides patients in need of a blood stem cell transplant with a second chance at life.
DKMS-BMST is a joint venture of two reputed non-profit organizations: BMST (Bangalore Medical Services Trust) and DKMS, one of the largest international blood stem cell donor centres in the world.
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