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.
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: http://www.aclt.org/
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: http://www.cancerequality.co.uk/site/about-us/