The family of a man who has been diagnosed with a type of lymphoma is appealing for more people to sign up as stem cell donors after the pandemic experienced a “major decline”.
Blood Cancer charity DKMS said the number of new people signing up for their registry is continuing to decline, now a decrease of 40% this year compared to the same time frame in 2020.
Data from the organization show that this year to October 20, there were 115,005 new registrations, but there were a total of 190,556 registrations on the same date in 2020.
Jonathan Pearce, CEO of DKMS UK, said: “We have witnessed a huge drop in registrations since the pandemic took hold.
“With only one in four people finding a match in their family, thousands of families each year rely on the kindness of a stranger to save the lives of their loved ones.
“The more people we have on the blood stem cell registry, the greater the chance of finding the perfect match.”
Now a family from north London is making a personal request for people to register after the father of two, Hedley Dindoyal, 50, of Friern Barnet, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May 2020.
After various courses of treatment, Mr Dindoyal, who was born in the UK but whose family hails from Mauritius, was told that his last option would be through a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
But he faces shorter odds of finding a perfect match because of his legacy.
“I have two beautiful children, Milo, 12, and Jasmine, nine, who need me, and I want to be there to guide them through their lives and watch them grow up with my wife, Lucy, by my side.” he said.
“I am now on my third cancer treatment, which needs to be consolidated with a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor, to keep the lymphoma away forever and give me my life back.
“But as a British-born Mauritian, I am looking for a donor on a register, knowing that there is less likelihood of being matched from my own ethnic background.
“So I especially appeal to people with Indian, black or Chinese backgrounds to step forward.”
Sir. Pearce added: “Blood cancer patients from black, Asian or ethnic minority groups face even more frightening odds due to the lack of donor diversity.
“These patients have only a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds.
At DKMS we are dedicated to the fight against blood cancer, and in the UK we are proud to have registered over 870,000 blood stem cell donors.
“Yet we still need many more registrations to meet the demand of people who are desperately seeking a vital donation from a complete stranger.”
People aged 17-55 years and generally good health can sign up a home grafting kit online.
The wadding is returned in a prepaid envelope to DKMS to add a person’s information to the UK’s custom stem cell registry.