Fighting Blood Cancer with Your Help: DKMS

Are you registered as a bone marrow donor with the DKMS? Many young german people are and could possibly save a person´s life.

Carolin Lensing
 min read

The DKMS is a non-profit organization that works in the fight against blood cancer. They work in Germany, USA, UK, Poland, Chile ans South Africa. Volunteer donors can register here to potentially donate a portion of their bone marrow. The donors' characteristics are matched with those of blood cancer patients in need. If a match exists, the donation can often save the patient's life.

We asked young germans again: For what reasons do young people register as donors and why don't they? Over 400 young people, with 84% under the age of 35, gave their opinion on DKMS and bone marrow donation.

A well-known organization

Of those surveyed, 2/3 know DKMS and what its work consists of. The organization seems to have a present role in the social perception of young people. Different variants of recruitment work well in this regard; respondents became aware of DKMS through different channels:

  • 52%: Advertising (online or stationary)
  • 27%: in personal conversation (family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues)
  • 18%: Recruitment campaigns (at school, at work, online)

Likewise, 40% of them, i.e. about 1/4 of all participants in the survey, stated that they were already registered as donors. Once the DKMS has reached a potential donor, this leads quite successfully to voluntary registration. Furthermore, 45% stated they had already supported the organization in another way (donating money, organizing registration campaigns, telling others about it).

Education as an important tool

Since 1/3 of the participants were not yet familiar with the DKMS, we informed them via a concise information text about the organization, its work and the process of registration and potential donation. Based on this information, 2/3 stated that they could imagine registering as a donor as a result of the education. DKMS brings a great deal of persuasiveness to the table, so that even the few people who are not yet familiar with the organization quickly become affinity with its mission. Likewise, 2/3 said they would potentially support the DKMS in other ways (donating money, holding registration drives, telling others about it).

The image of the DKMS

Overall, the image of the DKMS is perceived as very positive, both by participants who knew the company beforehand and those who read the information text.

  • Important work
  • Reliable and transparent company
  • Impressive organization of a socially very important topic
  • Helpful, people-saving institution.

Inhibitions before registration

Of all participants, slightly more than half stated that they had already registered as a donor with the DKMS or could imagine doing so. Now we asked the remaining persons what prevents them from registering. People who already knew about the DKMS:

  • 50%: I haven't gotten around to it yet, but would like to register.
  • 28%: I am afraid of medical procedures.20%: I do not qualify as a donor (e.g. pre-existing conditions).
  • 16%: I do not have enough information about DKMS.

Persons who had only read the info text:

  • 53%: I am afraid of medical interventions.
  • 36%: I do not want to donate any part of my body.
  • 21%: I do not qualify as a donor (e.g., pre-existing conditions).
  • 17%: I do not yet have enough information about the DKMS.

In general it seems as if the first group only needs to find time to register, while the second group was shown to be generally more averse to bone marrow donation.

Fear of medical intervention

We informed the above participants about the exact procedure of a bone marrow donation at the DKMS. They are under no obligation to donate and can withdraw their registration. In addition, the actual procedure is minimally invasive and involves mostly minor, short-term side effects. This information convinced another 47% of respondents to change their minds and potentially register. Final aversion to registration continues to lie in a lack of information and education, as well as a general fear of medical procedures. Here, too, professional educational work could possibly convince even more citizens to potentially save a human life.

--> Are you also interested in the DKMS or would you like to register as well? Take a look at the website here!