To raise awareness about leukaemia, other blood cancers, stem cell donations
and encourage people of African origin to be on the registry.
As part of our awareness campaign, we address the stereotype,
myth and negative rhetoric relating to bone marrow donation.
To Save Lives of Those in Need of Bone Marrow Transplant.
Dedication to others, commitment and integrity.
The Kevin Kararwa Leaukaemia Trust (KKLT) is a stem cell recruitment donor drive charity organisation founded after the tragic death of Kevin Kararwa, who pass away from leukaemia after he failed to find a potential stem cell donor in 2014. We fight leukaemia and other blood cancer by holding awareness drive, recruit members from BAME community to register into stem cell donor registry, We support patients and families affected with leukaemia by offering practical and emotional support; as part of our awareness campaign, we address the stereotype, myth and negative rhetoric relating to bone marrow donation.
Family and friends founded the organisation with a hopes that one day, what happened to Kevin will not happen to anyone else. Anyone can be a hero and you can be somebody’s hero by either registering to be a stem cell donor, volunteering with us, or donating towards our cause or our future projects.
Kevin was 22 years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). He underwent intensive chemotherapy treatments; which unfortunately proved to be unsuccessful. At the time, doctors advised that the only chance of survival for Kevin was through a bone marrow transplant.
Following a world-wide search of volunteer bone marrow registries and relentless donor appeals through the local and national media, a match was not found. This was devastating news for Kevin, his family and his friends. Doctors decided that the only other option for Kevin was to have a 50% match transplant donation from his younger brother; but again sadly this did not work. During this difficult time, Kevin, his family and friends learned that there is a dire shortage of bone marrow donors from the ethnic minority and indeed from the black community. It was even more devastating to learn that, Africa as a whole and indeed East African Region is not represented in the world donor registries.
Bone marrow match is specific to one’s ethnicity and region of origin; which meant that Kevin’s chance of getting a match would have been from the East African Region population. During Kevin’s donor appeals, we received numerous calls from Kenya with people wanting to help and asking how they could get involved in the process. Regrettably; there was nowhere to direct them to. Kevin’s death wish was that no one, young or old, should go through a similar ordeal, and so as family and friends, we decided to honour and push his legacy, by forming the Kevin Kararwa Leukaemia Trust.
STEM CELL DONOR REGISTRIES IN UK, CARIBBEAN AND AFRICA LAUNCH JOINT INITIATIVE TO RECRUIT 100,000 DONORS OF AFRICAN ANCESTRY BY 2030
Hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide live with blood cancers, like leukemia, myeloma, Hodgkin Lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Every 20 minutes someone in the UK finds out they have a blood cancer. Around 2,000 people in the UK need a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant every year. This is usually their last chance of survival. In the UK, 80% of African/Caribbean individuals battling leukemia will not find a matched donor to save their life. Whereas the rate soars to nearly 90% for Caucasian patients.
Why such a large disparity?
Access. One of the major impediments to matching patients of African ancestry with compatible donors is the scarcity of black donors who are registered with stem cell donor registries around the world. This gap, in turn, is driven by the steep logistical and financial hurdles involved in creating a registry, which is often enough to prevent resource-constrained countries in Africa and the Caribbean from launching their own registries.
The Stem Cell Registry Alliance (SCRA) was created to reduce the start-up costs for registries in these countries. By pooling resources amongst themselves, member registries will be able to start recruiting donors immediately, without the costs of setting up a stand-alone operation.
Veronica Kararwa, founder of KKLT said:
“We are writing a new part of our story, something so new, and untouched by all the chapters before. We deserve new. We deserve to come together in this beginning, stick together in the progress while working together to succeed. By working with others, this will be a mile stone by KKLT in attaining its main objectives of creating awareness, educating and saving lives by encouraging our people to register on the bone marrow register while supporting people affected with leukaemia. KKLT are honoured and delighted to be a founding member of the Stem Cell Registry Alliance (SCRA)”.
The SCRA will allow member registries to recruit and genetically type donors in their respective countries, then store the data securely on a centralized database, giving patients around the world a better chance of finding a match.
Individuals living in the UK who wish to join the stem cell register can click here.
Dr Anne Mwirigi (trustee) | Phone: +254 798 129 947 | Email: email@example.com