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Bradford graduate honoured for blood stem cell charity work

Published: Thur 26 July 2018
Bradford graduate honoured for blood stem cell charity work

A University of Bradford graduate has been honoured with a Prime Minister's Points of Light Award for her pioneering charity work to increase blood stem cell donations.

Zainab Garba-Sani, who recently graduated with a degree in clinical sciences, was selected for the award following her work as the first student  UK ambassador for international blood cancer charity DKMS.

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.

Zainab started supporting DKMS in 2016 when the charity visited the University of Bradford. She started a campaign that evolved into the Team Bradford vs Blood Cancer campaign. She founded the charity’s first ever student society at the University and has since inspired other students to make a difference and become lifesavers.

 Working with the University’s sports teams, media areas and societies to raise awareness of blood cancers/disorders and fundraise, Zainab and her team recruited nearly 200 potential blood stem cell donors and raised over £1000 in their first year alone.  By the end of its first year, the DKMS Society had won multiple awards including Awareness Society of the Year and Campaign of the Year.

Patients from black and minority ethnic minority communities currently have just a 20 per cent chance of finding a matching donor and Zainab’s work in Bradford has seen an increase in the number of potential blood stem cell donors.

Zainab now helps students at other universities across the country to set up similar societies as part of the ‘Students vs Blood Cancer’ campaign. She is to begin the NHS graduate management training scheme in September.

Zainab said: “Winning this award came as such a heart-warming surprise and I feel so incredibly honoured. When I became the first ‘DKMS’ Student Ambassador, my aim was to do whatever I could to help those with blood cancers and blood disorders, but little did I know the amount of support this campaign would receive. 

“Thank you to ‘DKMS’, my family and friends, the University of Bradford Students’ Union, the founding members of the University of Bradford’s ‘DKMS Society’, the Bradford community (staff, students and local businesses) and all others who have helped in fundraising and increasing the number of potential blood stem cell donors on standby to help save a life.

“I hope that this award helps increase awareness further and encourages more people to become lifesavers. If you are aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health, please sign up for a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk/swab. You can also visit dkms.org.uk to find out more about registering as a donor, donating money, becoming a volunteer or about other ways to help.”

Zainab is pictured receiving her award with MP Dame Caroline Spelman.

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