During the donation drive, which was organised jointly by the Plant Medical Service and the Liebherr Health Management department from 09 to 13 October at the Ochsenhausen site, a cotton bud was used to take a saliva sample from donors. The aim was to acquire new stem cell donors with different tissue types for the DKMS donor database. Every year, around 11,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer in Germany alone – many of whom are children and young people whose only chance of a cure is often a stem cell donation. If a suitable donor can be found, a transplant offers a new chance at survival if chemotherapy has failed.
As a registered charity, the DKMS maintains the world's largest database of donors with over 6 million people registered. Over 4.3 million of these potential donors come from Germany. Since 1991, over 54,000 bone marrow and stem cell donations have been able to be arranged, of which around 48,000 were arranged by DKMS Germany.
Info box: Stem cell donation
Stem cells are formed in large quantities in human bone marrow. Since the tissue type of the donor and the person suffering from leukaemia have to match, the search for suitable donors is often like looking for the proverbial "needle in a haystack". Once the tissue types of a donor and cancer sufferer are found to match, the donor then decides whether they wish to donate their stem cells through a type of blood donation or a minor surgical procedure.