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DKMS official logo 2016.png
FounderPeter Harf
Founded atGermany
Legal statusRegistered charity
PurposeBlood cancer awareness and donor registration for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Germany, Poland, Chile, UK, USA
WebsiteDKMS UK

DKMS (German "Deutsche KnochenMarkSpenderdatei" or "German Bone Marrow Donor File") is an international nonprofit bone marrow donor center based in Tübingen, Germany with entities in the US, UK, Chile, Poland, and India. DKMS works in the areas of blood cancer and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and raises awareness of the need for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation which people with blood cancers need for treatment as well as helping people sign up to their national bone marrow registries. Over the years, DKMS has expanded beyond Germany.[1][2]


DKMS was founded in Germany in 1991 by Peter Harf, an executive with Coty, Inc..[3] His wife, Mechtild, had been diagnosed with leukemia, and while her cancer initially responded to drugs, she eventually needed a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSC) but none of her family members were a good match.

Harf founded DKMS to raise awareness of the need for donors in Germany and to help people to register with the German national bone marrow registry. He included the whole family including their 14 year old daughter Katharina in the effort. Within a year the number of registered donors in Germany increased from 3,000 to 68,000.[1] He continued building the organization afterwards.[1]

Katharina eventually moved to the USA to Harvard, worked for Louis Vuitton in New York City for a time, then started an MBA at Columbia University; she dropped out and instead founded the US affiliate of DKMS with her father in 2004.[1] The US affiliate also works to raise awareness of the need for donors, helps people register with the National Marrow Donor Program, and if needed will help pay for any health tests, medication and travel costs.[4][5]

In 2014 DKMS began promoting May 28 as World Blood Cancer Day to help raise awareness.[6][7] That year they also began offering grants to support scientists working on diagnosis or treatment of blood cancers; offering two people up to 80,000 euros per year for up to three years.[8]


DKMS uses gala events and specific patient appeals to raise money and awareness.[3][1][9]

In the US and UK, DKMS hold their annual 'Big Love' gala event to fundraise which is often attended by high profile celebrities. Their most recent event was held at the Camden Roundhouse in November 2018 with attendees including Georgia May Jagger, Jamie Redknapp, Henry Holland and their global ambassador, model Eva Herzigova.[10][11]

Notable patient appeals have included Marley Nicholls,[12] Damary Dawkins[13] and Peter McCleave who appeared on the BBC Breakfast TV show with his son Maxwell in February 2019 seeking 10,000 potential donors.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Cordes, Michaela (27 November 2015). "A Modern Heroine". GG Magazine.
  2. ^ "Thousands sign up to save three-year-old Ava Stark". BBC News. 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  3. ^ a b Grinnell, SunHee (3 May 2012). "Coty Inc. and DKMS Go Star-studded to Save Kids' Lives". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 21 April 2017.
  4. ^ Sutterer, Anna (9 March 2017). "Bone marrow donation makes remarkable match". Vox Magazine.
  5. ^ Patterson, Amy (26 November 2016). "A bone marrow match needed to save girl". Daily Journal Online.
  6. ^ Mai, Andy; Greene, Leonard (23 May 2017). "Mets raise blood cancer awareness, honor heroic donors". NY Daily News.
  7. ^ Wenk, Erik (28 May 2014). "Vor allem Polizisten wollen Knochenmark spenden". Der Tagesspiegel Online (in German).
  8. ^ Mechtild Harf Research Grants DKMS Page archived 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Rock star Mike Peters recruits bone marrow donors in US". BBC News. 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  10. ^ Cope, Rebecca. "Second annual DKMS Big Love Gala in London attracts social set". Tatler. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  11. ^ "60 Hochwertige The Dkms Love Gala 2018 Bilder und Fotos - Getty Images". Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  12. ^ "'14,000 sign up' to save boy's life". 2018-09-01. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-19. Retrieved 2019-01-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ ""My dad has a blood cancer I really don't want him to have" - heartbreaking plea to help Ironman". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 2019-06-21.

External links[edit]