Udupi: DKMS-BMST & Manipal Marathon join hands to increase blood stem cell donation awareness

Media Release

Udupi, Feb 9: In a bid to increase awareness about blood cancer and blood stem cell donation, DKMS BMST Foundation India, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the fight against blood cancer, joined hands with Manipal Marathon 2024. With an expected turnout of over 10,000 participants, the foundation aims to register many potential life savers during the event.

The Manipal Marathon is an annual running event in Manipal, Udupi District and is organised by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in collaboration with the Udupi District Amateur Athletic Association. For its upcoming 6th edition, the Manipal Marathon will carry the meaningful tagline ‘We are with you all the way’to raise awareness against all terminal diseases, especially blood cancer.

Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, highlighted the pressing need to address the shortage of stem cell donors in India. He stated, "The youth's participation in this initiative is significant in conveying the importance of stem cell donation. In India, every year, over 1 lakh people are diagnosed with blood cancer or a blood disorder. For asuccessful blood stem cell transplant, patients need a perfect HLA-matching donor. Unfortunately, only 0.03% of the Indian population have registered as potential donors.Patients and donors of Indian origin have unique HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) characteristics severely under-represented in the global database, making the probability of finding a suitable donor even more difficult. India, being a young country, our aim is to raise greater awareness about blood stem cell donation through students.”

Dr H S Ballal, pro-chancellor, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, said, “We are happy that DKMS BMST Foundation India is organizing a donor registration drive at the Manipal Marathon 2024. Through this drive, we strive to raise awareness about blood stem cell donation and its importance for patients suffering from blood cancer and blood disorders like thalassemia and aplastic anemia. Together, we aim to dispel myths around this simple process and hope that many youngsters would register as potential blood stem cell donors."

Blood stem cell donor and a marketing professional hailing from Udupi, Akshay Kumar, who had donated his stem cells to save a patient, was present at the Manipal Marathon Expo, inspiring people with his story.

Kumar said, “As a blood stem cell donor, i believe in the power of collective action. My message to the youth is to register as donors by a simple process of giving your cheek swab samples.It is crucial to empower anew generation to step forward, saving lives and spreading hope. In this race against blood cancer, every step we take is a stride toward a healthier, brighter future for those in need.”

Every 5 minutes, someone in India is diagnosed with blood cancer or a blood disorder like Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia. Many such patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell transplant. For a successful stem cell transplant, the patient needs to find an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matched donor. Most often, the majority of the patients are unable to receive a transplant due to the unavailability of a matching blood stem cell donor. With very few individuals signing up as potential blood stem cell donors, finding a matching donor is difficult. This increases the need for more people of Indian ethnicity to register themselves.


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Title: Udupi: DKMS-BMST & Manipal Marathon join hands to increase blood stem cell donation awareness

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