- DKMS-BMST has organized a virtual blood stem cell donor registration drive to find a matching donor and save the toddler’s life
- Since, 9 months of age, the child is undergoing painful blood transfusions
Bangalore / April 13, 2022: Yohan, a three-year-old boy from Mysore, suffering from Thalassemia major, urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor to get treated for the blood disorder that is threatening his life.
DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders, is coordinating the search to find a matching donor for Yohan, by conducting a virtual drive where volunteers between the age-group of 18-50 can register online to be potential lifesavers.
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Yohan’s family has appealed for more to step forward from across the country to register online so that the child can be saved from Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes your body to have less haemoglobin than normal. Link to register: dkms-bmst.org/Yohan
The child was detected with rare blood disorder when he was 9 months old. Since then, he is being administered frequent blood transfusions to prevent anaemia. He is also undergoing chelation therapy to avoid the risk of iron overload and organ damage. Due to the severity of the disorder, doctors have advised an urgent blood stem cell transplant. They fear that there may be more health complications for Yohan, and he may run out of time if a lifesaver is not found.
Says Dr. Sunil Bhat, Director & Clinical Lead, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru: “Thalassemia’s burden is huge in India, with over 10,000 children being diagnosed each year. One such case is of 3-year-old Yohan from Mysore, who is awaiting a blood stem cell transplant that will save his life. But for that, we need a matching donor. Unfortunately, only 0.04% of the Indian population is registered as potential blood stem cell donors, so it becomes harder for patients like Yohan to find a perfect match. It is crucial for more Indians to register so that more and more patients of blood cancer and other blood disorders can get a second chance at life.”
Yohan’s mother Rashmi says, “Yohan is a cheerful child who is fond of music and loves playing drums and keyboard, but he has been fighting Thalassemia most of his life. He is too young to understand the seriousness of his illness. The only curative treatment for his condition is a stem cell transplant from a matching donor. The search for a perfect match has been a long one for us, and we’ve had no luck so far. Yohan deserves to live a healthy life, just like other kids of his tender age. I, as a desperate mother, appeal to all good-hearted people to come forward to participate in the virtual drive so that my child can urgently get a blood stem cell transplant and potentially a second chance at life.”
Says Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India: “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, contributing to the disease burden consistently. Despite this huge burden, only 0.04% of the Indian population is registered as potential blood stem cell donors which is significantly lower than many other countries. The need of the hour is to address this gap, which can be done if we can increase our donor registration base and more and more people are willing to become donors.”
What is the registration process?
People who are interested and fit the eligibility criteria can register at: dkms-bmst.org/Yohan
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.
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 anemia. 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 centers in the world. For more information, please visit dkms-bmst.org
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