He was also advised that because he was of Asian heritage his chances of finding a matching donor were slim (as only people of the same heritage line can provide a match). The search for a donor indeed proved extremely problematic & exposed a dire shortage of donors particularly for minorities.
Thankfully, with literally days to spare a match was found by Anthony Nolan in Germany. The RBLC having been founded out of an identified gap works to highlight the issue and help redress the shortfall in the UK.
Why are we needed? …
Sadly, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer every 20 minutes and for many a stem cell transplant is their only hope. There is however a big problem, there simply aren’t enough registered donors.
At this time 50% of those searching for a matching donor will never find one, with fatal consequences. The situation is even more acute for minority patients who shockingly make up just 4% of the UK registry (Source: Anthony Nolan).
The real tragedy is that medical advances now make both registration and donation extremely simple and straightforward. In relation to minority recruitment The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust was set up in the London area in 1996 to target the shortfall in African Caribbean minority donation, there however remained a big gap in provision for the Asian community, and the RBLC aims to fill that void.
By doing outreach work in the community the RBLC is helping to educate and encourage more people to join the register.
The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of this issue, raising awareness & understanding regarding the processes involved, encouraging community involvement & facilitating a continuous program of stem cell registration events to boost donor numbers. The RBLC recruits from all backgrounds but works particularly amongst chronically underrepresented minorities.
Statistically the Asian community has amongst the lowest stem cell registration rates (Source: Anthony Nolan) feedback points to lack of awareness, cultural barriers and misinformation regarding the registration and donation processes.
Recruitment registration drives form a core activity for the campaign, we hold these in universities, colleges, community & cultural events, sports venues etc. We also have volunteer community champions who go out into the community to highlight the lack of donors, fundraise, educate, and help organise events all with unprecedented success. The RBLC has rapidly developed an extensive network of volunteers and proactive supporters including some high profile backers such as the police, health professionals, the city mayors office, major faith and community groups, universities and local business to name but a few.