Bedford registers its 1000th blood stem cell donor

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DKMS Beds Hub Bedford Park
DKMS Beds Hub outside the Pavilion in Bedford Park.

1000 blood stem cell registrations have now been made thanks to DKMS Beds Hub, That means more people with a blood cancer or blood disorders have the chance of finding a match and a chance of survival.

Registration simply involves taking a swab from your mouth to collect cells which are then added to a donor register.

If you then match with someone who needs a stem cell donation you can decide if you want to donate.

DKMS Beds Hub was set up by Poonam Chand, to help five-year-old Kaiya Patel find a potential blood stem cell donor.

Kaiya did find a donor but sadly died due to an unrelated virus not long after. However, Poonam continues to campaign for people to register as a blood cell donor.

Kaiya Patel DKMS
Kaiya Patel

The 1000th person to register was among the 83 Bedford Park Runners who signed up yesterday morning. Poonam told us: “Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

“Many people never find the lifesaving blood stem cell donor match they need. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors.

“We owe this success to the network of passionate volunteers and the generosity and kindness of the people of Bedford, who are so receptive to helping others.

“We’d like to thank the Parkrun for allowing us to attend this amazing event and the Pavilion for the use of their site for registering donors.”

Mohammad Yasin MP who attended many stem cell registration events and helped promote the cause added: “DKMS Bedford is doing fantastic work and I’m pleased to support the team.”

The registration event at Bedford Park Run was made possible by park runner Jacquie Thompson who lost both her husband, David, and stepson to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

David Thompson and his daughter Rachel
David Thompson and his daughter Rachel

Dipali Sutharsan, another local resident who volunteers with DKMS Beds Hub lost her husband Dr Sutharsan Raju, (a consultant psychiatrist and father of 9 year old twins), to Leukaemia last summer.

Dipali appealed to the Bedford community: “Please get yourself registered with DKMS and try and save another family suffering the devastating loss of a loved one.”

To find out more about DKMS Beds Hub and future registration events, head to their Facebook page.

If you can’t make a donor event, you can register online for a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk.