When Peter Harf founded DKMS in 1991 his wife was in need of a transplant and there were only 3,000 donors registered in Germany. Though many at the time thought that creating a private donor centre was an impossible task, Peter refused to accept this view, embarking on a registration campaign that added 68,000 donors to the Germany registry in a single year. Now, 29 years later, DKMS continues to build upon his vision with over 10 million registered donors in seven countries across five continents.
The importance of this achievement is further underscored by the critical role we play in the global transplant community, with nearly a third of the 36 million potential donors worldwide registered with DKMS. “This is a fantastic achievement by DKMS that is only possible because of the dedication and passion of their employees and supporters from around the world,” says Lydia Foeken, CEO of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA). Still, tens of thousands of patients suffering from blood cancer and other blood disorders remain unable to find the matching donor they need, meaning our work is far from over.
“10 million registered donors is truly a wonderful accomplishment, but for me, and I know for all of the DKMS family, this is not about just numbers and it never will be,” explains Elke Neujahr, Global CEO of DKMS. “It is about our donors. It is about our patients. It is about everyone that is affected by these devastating diseases. This is why we also realise that, though we celebrate this milestone, we still have so much more to do.”
For those of us at DKMS, along with our passionate and committed supporters, this milestone is a reminder that nothing is impossible and, together, we can overcome the greatest odds.
Thank you to all the employees who work every day to further our lifesaving mission. Thank you to the countless supporters and volunteers who fight tirelessly to bring hope to those in need. Thank you to each and every one of our 10 million registered donors, who have given nearly 85,000 second chances at life to complete strangers around the world. The inspiration you provide every day is the motivation that pushes us ever onward, as we work towards our ultimate dream: that we only stop when patients no longer need our help.