Wednesday, August 02, 2006
DWIB Leukaemia Trust
This weekend turned out to be quite amazing. I was helping a friend, Maurice and Edita move into their new flat in West Norwood and we decided to check out his local pub. "The Gold Coast" in South London. This place is a real authentic African-style pub and as we walked in I saw Danny Whyte sitting on a barstool. The last time, and first time I saw him, was on the Richard and Judy show asking for a bone marrow donor. Danny was there with Ivor Burford and lots of their friends. It was a DWIB funding weekend. What a weekend? The people were friendly and just happy to be their supporting this event. There was face painting, cake-weight guessing and lots of games for everybody. The atmosphere was fantastic.
The problem for many black people or those who are mixed race living in the western world is that if they get sick with a blood related disease they tend not to find donor matches as their are too few bone marrow donors. This isn't because the black community is unwilling to donate, it is merely a numbers game and there are too few black people to find matches with.
The project that these two guys are working on is staggering. The idea to have an Anthony Nolan type database for bone marrow donors throughout Africa, based in Accra, Ghana. The idea was like a rocket going off in my head. Wow. Stem cell treatment for those in sub-sahara Africa and beyond, now that would be amazing.
The problem faced by many people from the Afro-Carribean community worldwide is that unlike the Asian community few can go back to India or Pakistan and test all those in the village to find a perfect bone marrow match. For the majority that is just not possible or even an option due to being displaced, enslaved and transported years ago so by setting up this database of bone marrow donors in the heart of Africa well this gives black people both on and off the continent a real chance to enjoy the developments of western medicine and find cures for numerous blood related diseases.
I really want to bring to your attention the efforts made by these two men Danny and Ivor and their friends. Here is their website, take a look: www.dwib.org