Bad Godesberg About 150 to 200 students have registered as bone marrow donors for the DKMS database at the Friedrich-List-Berufskollegs. The impetus for the initiative came from the student council.
When the lecture was over, many students left the auditorium of the Friedrich-List-Berufskolleg quite quickly before they could be asked about their motives. Those who stayed could become life savers one day. Because they registered for the DKMS database as potential bone marrow donors. And they were quite a few: Altogether coworker Louise Henninger estimated the number of the new registrations to be between 150 and 200. Again a good ratio.
Already in 2018, the student council of the vocational college had organized a registration date, according to school spokesperson Bastian Selbach, with surprising success even then. And this time, too, there was a large turnout: Henninger gave her lecture twice, and both times the room was so full that the participants even took a seat where pupils usually don't like to sit: in the front row. Selbach found this remarkable, as they came voluntarily. He himself had registered at the time because he knows two people who had overcome blood cancer through stem cell donation.
In her talk, Henninger explained how the procedure for stem cell donation works: The cheek swab that is taken upon registration is examined in a laboratory and the donor is then typed, which costs 34 euros per donation. If one actually becomes a donor, the stem cells are either taken from the blood - which accounts for 80 percent of all donations - or taken from the iliac crest with the bone marrow. One can find out later whether the patient has survived, but anonymity is only lifted after two years.
The students also heard a field report from a donor named Christoph, who has already helped a person in Canada with his stem cell donation. Afterwards, the students went to the registration office. Ibo had stayed, filled out the form and put the rods for the smear test in his mouth. He was especially impressed by the touching films about affected children who could be helped, he said. "If I can help, why not?“
However, Ibo hopes that he will be among the 80 percent who can make their donation by taking a blood sample - the bone marrow collection was suspicious to him, he was afraid of a possible paraplegia. Henniger explained to him that this is impossible, since it is not a spinal marrow collection: the bone marrow is taken from the iliac crest.
EVERY TENTH PATIENT CANNOT FIND A DONOR
The typing is done by a smear test
According to information from the DKMS gemeinnützige GmbH, every 15 minutes a person in Germany receives a diagnosis of blood cancer. Many patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell donation. Every day more than 20 men and women donate bone marrow worldwide for patients at home and abroad. But in Germany alone, one in ten patients still cannot find a suitable stem cell donor. Typing is possible via a smear of the donor's buccal mucosa. After evaluation, the DKMS, which was founded in 1991 as the German Bone Marrow Donor Registry, stores the test results and makes them available under a pseudonym for the worldwide patient search. Every healthy adult from 17 to 55 years can become a donor. The costs for the registration are not covered by the health system, the financing is done by donations. There is further information on the DKMS homepage under www.dkms.de.
Some did not participate in the registration, because they are already registered. Kathleen had a good reason for this: "My father had leukemia. One of his six siblings was able to save him with a stem cell donation. This had been a great incentive for them. "If I had blood cancer, I would also be happy if many people registered," said fellow student Bastian.
Nadine had registered at home after she learned about it from the DRC blood donation: Over the DKMS one can order the set for it. "This is a good thing." And Leonie was of the opinion: "We can make the world a better place through this. It's nice to know that you're part of something good."
(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Mareike Graepel)