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Initiative set to combat blood cancers

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blood-cancerHosts drive to recruit voluntary bone marrow donors in Lagos on December 21
Ara, a volunteer initiative to combat blood cancers and sickle cell anemia in Africa, in collaboration with the Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria (BMRN) and Delete Blood Cancer (DKMS) is launching a programme to recruit the first 2,000 bone marrow donors in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ara in a press statement said the drive scheduled for December 21, 2015, and will feature: stalls where potential donors can learn more about the reasons why Ara exist and about the bone marrow donation process from trained Ara volunteers; booths to register as a bone marrow donor; food and drink; giveaway T-shirts and pins.

A member of Ara’s founding team, Ronke Babalakin, said: “Here at Ara, we really want to get young people interested and invested in this issue. Not everyone in the Ara community will be a bone marrow donor; instead we want the people to be open to learn more about blood cancer related diseases and how we can fight them effectively.
“Ara’s initial goal is to recruit 30,000 bone marrow donors on the African bone marrow registries by December 2018. Ara is offering everyone the opportunity to come, eat, and connect with people and learn how to save lives. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

She said the venue of the event is the NBA Building, 1261 Adeola Hopwell, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday, December 21, 2015, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Ara is a grassroots volunteer initiative to combat blood cancers and sickle cell anemia in Africa by recruiting bone marrow donors and promoting cancer awareness. Ara’s primary goal is to recruit 30,000 bone marrow donors on the African bone marrow registries by December 2018. In particular, the organisation wants to support cancer and sickle cell patients, survivors, and families by connecting them with a community to which they can direct their concerns and queries, and eradicate the stigma that surrounds cancer and bone marrow donation in many African cities – including Lagos. Ara’s long- term goal is to provide the logistics and infrastructure necessary to ensure the seamless recruitment of donors in cities all over Africa.

The Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria (“BMRN”) is a not-for-profit organization based at the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. BMRN are the first internationally accredited donor registry in Nigeria, and only the second in Africa. The organisation’s mission is to improve access to genetically diverse stem cell donors from Nigeria and to match patients all over the world with life-saving stem cell donors. BMRN also seek to construct the first cord blood bank in Africa in order to support hematopoietic stem cell research and transplantation.


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