|Legal status||Registered charity|
|Purpose||Blood cancer awareness and donor registration for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation|
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.
DKMS was founded in Germany in 1991 by Peter Harf, an executive with Coty, Inc.. 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. He continued building the organization afterwards.
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. 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.
In 2014 DKMS began promoting May 28 as World Blood Cancer Day to help raise awareness. 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.
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.
Notable patient appeals have included Marley Nicholls, Damary Dawkins and Peter McCleave who appeared on the BBC Breakfast TV show with his son Maxwell in February 2019 seeking 10,000 potential donors.
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