5 things you should know about World Blood Cancer Day

February 12

DKMS

1. It’s a held every year on May 28

Mark your calendars! | DKMS

World Blood Cancer Day (WBCD) is a global awareness day dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. On May 28, individuals, friends, families, communities, companies, organizations share their support using the red ampersand, the official sign for WBCD.

 

2. Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancerous growth in the blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes that affect normal blood cell production or function.

White blood cells and cancerous blood cells

As diseased blood cells proliferate, they cause life-threatening damage to the immune and circulatory systems. These blood cells, which can no longer carry out normal cell functions and no longer die a natural death, are known as cancer cells. They enter the bloodstream and multiply uncontrollably, crowding out the healthy cells. This means the blood can no longer perform its tasks, such as oxygen transportation and defense against germs.

Depending on the level of maturity of the blood cells in which these malignant changes take place, doctors distinguish between three main groups of blood cancer: leukemia, multiple myeloma and malignant lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

 

3. It’s a big deal

All over the world, WBCD has major support. For the last few years, the Empire State Building was lit red in honor of the awareness day.

4. Blood cancer can strike anyone.

Arham from Houston, TX, is fighting two types of cancers

Every 35 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with a blood cancer like lymphoma or leukemia. Blood cancer doesn’t discriminate, for patients like Arham (pictured above), a bone marrow transplant from a donor is their best chance for survival. Arham was diagnosed at 3-months-old and he is undergoing chemotherapy treatments to fight the two aggressive blood cancers. He’s been through a lot — including cardiac arrest as a complication from the chemo. He needs a bone marrow transplant.

For Arham to win his fight, his doctors are hoping to get to transplant after this round of chemo, and that means there are only a few weeks to find a matching bone marrow donor. This search is at a critical point and Arham and his family needs help now.

 

4. There are several ways you can participate in WBCD



A. You can host a bone marrow donor drive

Bone marrow donor drive held at Marshall University

The more donors on the international bone marrow registry, the better the odds for a blood cancer patient in need. Matching is based on HLA markers and blood cancer patients of color or mixed race have a harder time finding a bone marrow donor.

 

B. You can share the official sign of World Blood Cancer Day (#WBCD)

Two individuals with the official sign of WBCD, the red ampersand

The official symbol for World Blood Cancer Day is the red ampersand sign — which shows solidarity with those affected by blood cancer.

Using the Facebook frame, you can change your profile photo.

 

C. Sign up as a potential bone marrow donor

Christina donating bone marrow via Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation

Everyone counts in the fight against blood cancer. Once you are between the ages of 18–55 and in general good health, you can register as a potential lifesaver. Make your mark and help us give everyone in need of a bone marrow donation a second chance at life.

Here’s how you can sign up as a potential bone marrow donor

However, you choose to make your mark just remember, together we can fight blood cancer!