Press Release: YOUNG WOMAN’S RACE AGAINST TIME!

The patient has issued a heartfelt appeal to everyone to register as a potential blood stem cell donor so that she can find a match DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and related disorders, is coordinating the search for a matching donor

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Press Release: NEW DELHI / April 21, 2022:  Kriti, a 23-year-old young woman from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, suffering from blood cancer,urgently needs to find a matching blood stem cell donor to undergo a lifesaving stem cell transplant. It is her only option of treatment and could potentially save her life. The young girl has been fighting against this disease since she was 12 years of age, when she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. 

Kriti is being treated at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Center in Delhi under Dr. Narendra Agrawal, who is Senior Consultant at the hospital’s Department of Hemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant. She has been on medication since the day she was diagnosed and is unable to live a normal life. After fighting to stay alive for more than a decade, Kriti has now reached a critical stage where her only chance at survival is a stem-cell transplant. But for that, it is imperative to find a matching blood stem cell donor to make the transplant possible. 

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DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and related disorders, is coordinating the search for a matching donor for Kriti. To reach out to people across India, DKMS-BMST has launched a virtual drive for her, where one can register online to be a potential lifesaver. Link to register: www.dkms-bmst.org/kriti  

Making a heartfelt appeal, Kriti said, “I have lived with Leukemia for half of my life. It has affected me in ways that I cannot explain, but it didn’t stop me from having dreams. Once I beat this disease, I will study harder to achieve my goals. My dream is to become a fashion designer one day and own a designer boutique. I believe that I deserve to get a fair chance at life like everybody else, but I will only get that chance if I get a matching donor on time. I am hopeful that this virtual drive by DKMS-BMST will lead me to a matching donor soon. Registration will take only five minutes of your time, but in return I may get a second chance at life. I appeal to everyone to please do register with this simple process of filling an online form and submitting a cheek swab, to potentially save my life and other blood-cancer patients like me.” 

Kriti’s brother Vivek, who has been the bedrock of support in her life’s journey, said, “Kriti is battling blood cancer since the last 12 years. Medicines have weakened her body, but not her fighting spirit. None of my family members are an HLA-match for her, so our only option is to find an unrelated donor from people at large. We request everyone to please come forward and register online as a potential blood stem donor and give a chance to my sister to achieve her dreams. Your one swab can give us a lot of hope.” 

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Dr. Narendra Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Dept. of Hemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Center, New Delhi, said, “Many efforts are being made in the medical field to find ways to treat blood cancer. Over the years, stem cell transplants have shown to be the most effective treatment for high-risk blood cancers and other life-threatening blood diseases. But for a successful stem cell transplant to happen, the patient needs a matching donor. It is especially hard for Indian patients to find a donor because only 0.04% of Indians are registered as potential stem cell donors. The under-representation of Indian ethnicity in the stem cell registries is posing a huge problem for patients like Kriti, who have been on a waitlist for years because they’re yet to find a match. I urge all of you to come forward and register with DKMS-BMST so that you can be a potential lifesaver someday!”  

“Per statistics, only 30% of blood disorder patients in need of a stem cell transplant are able to find a related match, and about 70 % of patients need an unrelated donor. In India, we see almost one lakh new cases of blood disorders every year. Despite this huge burden, the number of Indians that are registered in stem cell registries are significantly lower than many other countries. The need of the hour is to address this gap, which can be done if we increase our donor registration base”, said Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India. 

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People who are interested in saving Kriti’s life, and of other patients like her, can register at: www.dkms-bmst.org/kriti   

What is the registration process? 

All it takes is five minutes of your time and a simple 3 step process:  

Step 1: Visit the site, fill up an online form and you will receive a DIY swab kit at home.  

Step 2: Once you receive the swab kit, fill out the consent form and take a tissue sample from the inside of your cheeks with 3 cotton swabs provided in the kit.  

Step 3: Send back your swab sample in the pre-paid envelope provided. 

DKMS laboratory will then analyze your tissue type and your details will be available in the global search for blood stem cell donors. If you do come up as a suitable donor, DKMS-BMST will get in touch with you straight away. Once you come up as a match, blood stem cells will be obtained from the bloodstream using a procedure called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection, which is similar to a blood donation wherein only your stem cells are taken. This is a safe, non-surgical outpatient procedure. 

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