DKMS Beds Bhangra Ball raises over £12,000 to help fight blood cancer

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A sell-out event at Empire nightclub last week raised over £12,000 for blood cancer charity DKMS, helping more potential life-saving stem cell donors to be registered.

The Bhangra Ball, organised by DKMS Beds, was hosted by television personality Harjap Bhangal and night club owner Rosie Garcha. There were also performances from PBN, Shin from DCS, Saloni, and DJ Manny from Kudos Music.

Speaking about the event, organiser and local campaigner Poonam Chand from DKMS Beds said: “Over £12,000 raised during one incredible night. Bedford is a small town but we can make big things happen.

“The event also raised awareness that for many blood cancer patients, the only hope of survival is to find a matching blood stem donor.

“Many patients never find the life-saving blood stem cell donor match they need, but this isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors.”

DKMS Beds Bhangra Ball
(l-r) Kuldip Singh OBE, Jagtar Singh; Poonam Chand; Prof Gurch Randhawa, Deputy Lord Lieutenant; Bali Chand

Performer, Shin, who is described as ‘an absolute Bhangra legend’ said on the night: “What a great night for DKMS, everyone was very moved by the personal experiences shared and donated generously.

“I always love performing for the Bedford crowd who have always been up for a party and what a great charity to perform for.”

Professor Gurch Randhawa, Deputy Lord Lieutenant spoke at the event and later said “It was an honour to represent Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant at the DKMS Ball.

“The organisers should be congratulated for their achievements in both raising awareness of stem cell donation among diverse communities and also raising substantial funds for the DKMS charity.

“It is wonderful to see such inspirational and life-transforming work being undertaken within Bedfordshire.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE, Chair of the British Medical Association also attended and spoke at the event. His appearance was particularly poignant as he lobbied Parliament to make organ donation opt out instead of opt in. It was announced only last week that the Government had agreed to the legislative change.

Since being set up, DKMS Beds Hub has helped to get 800 potential stem cell donors added to the register. Each new registration cost £40 and the money raised at Friday’s Ball will help DKMS to continue its work in registering even more donors.

DKMS Beds HubMay 2018 was set up in response to an appeal to find a life-saving donor for five-year-old blood cancer patient Kaiya Patel from Northwood, who devastatingly passed away on 13th January 2019.

While the team works to get as many people registered as possible, there is a particular need for more people from Black, Asian or other ethnic minority backgrounds to come forward due to a particular shortage in this area.

Volunteers will be holding a registration session for members of the public at Bedford Hospital South Wing outside the Swannery restaurant on 4th April 2019 from 12pm to 2pm. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Follow DKMS Beds Hub on Facebook for information about other upcoming events.

This story was updated to include new fundraising figures on 6 March 2019.

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