Recently, the British Bindi team got into their ball gowns and heels, to attend Focus Leukaemia‘s Great Gatsby Charity Dinner & Dance. The Great Gatsby theme was well executed to perfection throughout the event, from the grandeur decor and entertainment to the music and snazzy vibe.
It was exciting to get glammed up for an event in our home city of Wolverhampton. However, more importantly, we’re proud to share a story with you, from our fellow Wolverhampton-er, Samrick.
Founder of Focus Leukaemia
Samrick Singh Bahia was 19 in 2013 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. He was in his second year of university, we can’t imagine how life-shaking that period must have been. However, fast-forward to October 2016, Samrick has founded and managed Focus Leukaemia — a fantastic charity supporting Delete Blood Cancer.
This year alone he’s been given the ‘all clear’ after a 4-year battle with leukaemia, completed the Three Peaks challenge, honoured by David Cameron for raising over £100,000 and has recruited more than 1,000 new donors to the Stem Cell Register… oh and of course, has just thrown a super swanky Charity event! Samrick was also honoured as Pride of Britain’s West Midlands Fundraiser of 2015, after being anonymously nominated for the award.
Stem Cell Donors in Ethnic Minority Communities
Samrick has also been educating and raising awareness for the need for Stem Cell Donors, particularly from ethnic minority communities. As a result, a friend of Samrick’s registered to become a Stem Cell Donor and discovered he was a match for somebody earlier this year, and amazingly saved their life. This was all thanks to the awareness raised by Samrick’s previous charity event.
People from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds struggle to find matches for life-saving transplants. Patients have an increased chance of finding a match from donors from the same ethnic background as them. According to statistics, people from a Caucasian background have a 60% chance of finding a match, meanwhile, those from a BAME background have a low 20% chance. We think a lot of this is to do with education and awareness, and before this event, we had no idea about the desperation for donors from our ethnic background.
We also knew very little about the Stem Cell donation procedure and what it entails. In fact, we thought the procedure to just become registered, was a lot more frightening and complicated than it actually is. Here’s what we found out about Stem Cell donation;
Five things we now know about Stem Cell Donation
- You simply fill out a form and take a swab from your cheek to register.
- Once you’re on the Stem Cell Register, you don’t donate stem cells until you’re matched up with a patient. This means you can potentially save their life!
- You don’t permanently lose your stem cells after donation. Stem cells replenish themselves after 3-6 weeks.
- For every donor, there is an estimated 4-5% chance of being matched with a patient in the next 10 years.
- Lots of donors report the procedure being simple and painless — busting the myth that donating stem cells is painful.
What’s next for Focus Leukaemia?
Samrick is keen to continue fundraising for Focus Leukaemia in aid of Delete Blood Cancer, for as long as possible. Plans are already being put in place to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2017, with another charity ball planned for late 2018. Samrick aims to raise around £28,000 on average per year, which is a huge contribution towards Delete Blood Cancer and the fantastic work they do.
Inspiration and Celebration
To conclude, we had an amazing time at Focus Leukaemia’s event, not only did we have tons of fun (awkward ball gown dancing), but learnt a lot about a great cause. We feel inspired by Samrick’s journey and wish him all the best for his Charity, and can’t wait to see his future achievements.
Check out Focus Leukaemia on Facebook to read more about Samrick’s story, and to help celebrate their amazing work. You can still make donations to Samrick’s Just Giving page, to continue his fundraising success.