Sunday 31 July 2016

Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month (JULY 2016)

 You might not of heard about Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month but it desperately needs by all of us to raise awareness about it more often, whenever we can.

 I've been following Cancer Equality on twitter now for a couple of years and I'm very interested in the work they do within the cancer community to improve the health of people within Britain who are Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME).

 Cancer Equality says that sometimes people in the BAME community can "experience higher incidence of certain cancers and poorer outcomes."  

Statistics above from Cancer Equality's 2012 Press Release.


 When we can it should be the responsibility of all, to help improve the survival rates for people in the BAME community and all cancers. I know how hard it can be with a rare cancer when raising awareness. Rarer cancers get lost as not many people will know someone with a rare cancer compared to common ones where they'll have bigger numbers of people supporting them and helping to raise awareness of that cancer. It's exactly the same for those in the BAME community, we should be trying to help others regardless if they have a different cancer etc. I can't expect people to raise awareness of the cancer I had if I don't help raise awareness of their cancers.

  A good example of a charity who support and also try to save the lives of people who are (BAME) is the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust also known as (ACLT).  I had the honour of volunteering for them a couple of years ago and they recently celebrated their 20th Birthday. 
The charity was set up when Co Founder Beverley De-Gale's son,  Daniel  desperately needed to receive healthy donated stem cells from a donor because his cancer had sadly relapsed. Daniel had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) when he was just 6 years of age. 

"ACLT is a 30+ times award winning leading British blood cancer charity and was founded in 1996."

 I remember when ACLT first appeared on London Tonight to raise awareness for Daniel and that's the first time that I had heard about the charity and being inspired by Co-Founders Beverley De-Gale and her partner Orin Lewis. Their continuous determination to raise awareness of why they needed more people in the BAME community to donate stem cells.

 Unlike blood where you can match to most people, stem cells are much harder because it relates to your ethnicity in finding the best match. They gave people hope when they never thought they had a chance of ever finding a match. 

 ACLT says: " Daniel’s younger sister Dominique was tested as a possible match, brothers and sisters of the same parents have a 1 in 4 chance of being a perfect match, but sadly Dominique was not a match for her brother. Family members were also tested but again no match was found.
It was at this point that Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital informed the family that they would search the World bone marrow (stem cell) register of unrelated donors for Daniel, but in the same breath they said the chances of finding a matched donor for Daniel would be extremely remote simply because of a lack of  Black and Mixed Race  people signing up to the stem cell  registers. Professor Paul Veys said that Daniel had a 1 in 250,000 chance of finding a donor because of his ethnicity.  If  he  was White  British his chances of finding a donor would have been at best 1 in 4  or 5, simply because hundreds of thousands of  White Northern Europeans  had signed up over the years. This devastating news was the tipping point for Daniel’s parents. They decided very quickly that Daniel’s future was going to be decided by the black and mixed race communities registering in their tens of thousands. A couple of months later the ACLT charity was founded and an International media campaign was commenced.
Daniel suffered 2 relapses before, in 1999, a born again Christian from Detroit, Michigan was found to be Daniel’s lifesaving donor. Doreene Carney listened to a presentation at her place of work, the US Postal Service and immediately decided to join the US register, BINGO! On the 16th June 1999 Daniel received 45 year old Doreene’s donated stem cells and became the first black individual in the UK to receive a lifesaving stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
Sadly on October 8th 2008, Daniel sadly passed away from multiple organ failure due to complications with his health."

 When volunteering  for ACLT  I saw  their drive,  passion,  determination and selflessness  to give  someone else the  chance  of finding a donor.  I 've read about the lives they have saved because of their hard work in the BAME Community to get  people to sign up to the (bone marrow), blood and organ donor  registers.

My Black Skin

Source: ACLT Charity

The Human Story by George The Poet

"Visit the NHS Blood & Transplant website for further details of our joint campaigns - Please CLICK HERE
We believe there should be an unrelated donor waiting for everyone who is in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant – if we all play our part, together we can help put an end to the many lives being needlessly lost as a result of a matched donor not being found at the time someone needs help."

Beverley and I.

To learn more about ACLT please visit:

Above: takes your saliva to test and see if you're a match to be a donor or could be in the future.

Source: Anthony Nolan

To find out more about the great work that Cancer Equality does, please visit:



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