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active-net gets behind campaign to delete blood cancer

By Lauren Heath-Jones    11 Mar 2019
Harjeet Bhatti, who is currently battling leukaemia and desperately searching for a matching stem cell donor.

active-net is supporting the work of blood cancer charity, DKMS, by encouraging greater awareness of stem cell donation within the BAME community as part of its diversity, inclusivity and equality theme. Delegates at this year’s event, which takes place between 27 and 28 March, will be asked to register onto the blood stem cell donor database.

Every 20 minutes in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a type of blood cancer, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. If a patient needs a stem cell transplant, their donor must be a genetic match, which usually means that the donor will come from the same ethnic background.

Patients living in the UK with a BAME heritage have a much smaller pool of potential matches to choose from, and less than a 20 per cent chance of finding a potentially life saving match.

The active-net after dinner speaker, ex-paralympic athlete Kelda Wood, has just completed her solo 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Challenge. Each day Kelda dedicated her rowing to a different young person, sharing their stories and links to relevant charities and organisations. Kelda dedicated day 67 of her row to raise awareness for DKMS and young professional boxer, Harjeet Bhatti, 25 who is currently battling leukaemia and desperately searching for a matching stem cell donor.

Bhatti was nominated by his cousin, Ravinder Sandhu, head of Marketing at the Swimming Teachers Association (STA). Sandhu, who will be attending active-net, said: “Harjeet is a kind and driven young man, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) just a few months ago. He is currently undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, but is desperately searching for a stem cell donor to save his life.

“He has achieved so much in his career, winning numerous British titles in kickboxing, and becoming a heavyweight champion with an IBA belt. In the last year, as a professional boxer, Harjeet has had four fights with a total of three knockouts and four wins. However, he is now facing his toughest opponent, and although there is no ring this time, his boxing gloves remain firmly on his hands.”

The team from DKMS will be in attendance at active-net to answer any questions and to process delegates blood stem cell registrations.

David Monkhouse, director of Leisure-net, a leading customer insight provider for the active leisure sector which organises the two day event said: “We want the active-net community to be proactive in promoting the work of DKMS and of Harjeet’s search to find a matching donor via their social media platforms. Sharing their stories is vital for awareness. Delegates that choose to, and are eligible to go on the stem cell database, will find the registration process quick and pain free. It involves filling in a few simple questions and then taking a swab with a cotton bud from their mouths.

“We are honoured that active-net can support DKMS’s vital work and raise awareness for Harjeet’s campaign through Kelda’s Atlantic row. Registering to be on the blood stem cell database takes minutes, but can save someone’s life.”

active-net, now in its sixth year, will take place at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham on 27-28 March. As well as one-to-one buyer supplier meetings, the physical activity sector event will feature a strong educational element and networking programme. It is aimed at all operators and suppliers with a focus on the public sector, whether trusts, local authorities or universities/colleges.

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