Learn Topic
13 Articles

About DKMS

DKMS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders by creating awareness, recruiting bone marrow donors to provide a second chance at life, raising funds to match donor registrations costs, and supporting the improvement of blood cancer therapies by our own research.

Our Mission

Our story began with one family fighting to save someone they loved. When Mechtild Harf was told that the only treatment for her leukemia was a bone marrow transplant, she had no matching family members.

Mechtild Harf

At the time, there were only 3,000 potential stem cell donors on the German registry to provide a transplant. Confronted by the knowledge that his wife faced difficult odds in finding a matching donor, her husband Peter decided to apply his prolific business skills to the question of how to give his wife and patients like her the best chance at survival. The answer seemed clear: more unrelated donors meant better chances for all patients in need.

Peter founded DKMS with his wife’s transplant physician, Gerhard Ehninger, on the May 28, 1991, and in our first year of operations we managed to expand the registry from 3,000 donors to 68,000. Despite the Harf family’s best efforts, Mechtild ultimately did not survive. However, before she passed away she made Peter promise her that he would not stop fighting until every patient had a matching donor and a potential second chance at life. Since then Peter and his daughter Katharina Harf, the Vice Chairwoman of the DKMS Foundation Board, have kept that promise. Motivated by the fate of their wife and mother, by 1995 Katharina and Peter had helped build DKMS into the world’s largest stem cell donor registry, and ever since, we have worked tirelessly to fulfill our mission – to provide as many blood cancer patients as possible with a second chance at life.

DKMS donor James stepped up to save a life
bone marrow register
Our mission and impact
DKMS is dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.
Read more
Katharina Harf
Meet our Executive Board in the US
Smart, passionate, innovative, enthusiastic, collaborative, caring, tireless - just a few of the superlatives that describe our leadership team and their approach to guiding our organization as it grows to serve more donors and save more patients.
Read more
Katharina Harf with Marcus and Matene the first time the met on stage at the 2018 gala.
Meet our US Board Members
We are so grateful to our US Board Members who give their time to continue to help elevate the work DKMS is doing, supporting our donors, and the care they show for the patients we work with.
Read more
Together we can save more lives
Do you need more information?
There are many ways to get involved and support our mission.
You can raise awareness, join the registry, host your own [registration] event, take on a fundraising challenge, or anything in between.