Artists come together against blood cancer for patients
Two-year-old Gaurav Bains, has united the nation with a campaign to find him a stem cell donor, as local communities come together to hold recruitment events up and down the country.
Gaurav, who lives in Tipton is a cute and lively two year old boy like most children his age however, his parents Gurprit and Sunny Bains have to take extra care because he has a rare condition called Monosomy 7, a disease which suppresses his immune system. This means that any of the usual childhood coughs and sneezes are a serious issue for him, resulting in a hospital stay and intravenous antibiotics, which leave him very debilitated. Gaurav urgently needs a bone marrow transplant because without one, he will develop aggressive leukaemia.
It’s not just the public who have been touched by the story, Asian celebrities and singers have been supporting the appeal and Birmingham Bhangra artist Foji Gill has gone that one step further and organised a street party in the heart of Birmingham’s multi-cultural community on Soho Road, this coming Saturday 23rd November 2013.
The street party is being hosted by RaajFM radio outside the library on Soho Road andwill feature some of the biggest names from the UK Asian music scene such as, Bups Saggu, Shin DCS, Aman Hayer, Apache Indian, Tru Skool, Benny Dhaliwal and so many more – the list is endless!
Foji Gill supported a recent donor recruitment event in Birmingham where he registered to become a potential stem cell donor. It was at that event he decided he wanted to do more and took it upon himself to arrange this street party. Foji spoke to Sunny Bains (Gaurav’s father) and a few of the volunteers and gave them the idea about a street party.
Foji said “This situation could happen to anyone, including my close family and it’s okay giving ideas, but I thought what’s the use giving ideas if I can’t help , so I decided who better than me to do this, I know all of the artists and media contacts to put this into action so here we are. We have a great line up for the 23rd November, and I hope we’ll gather a massive crowd on the day.”
Artists will be performing to show their support to the cause and also encourage the public to register on the day to become a potential stem cell donor. Joseph Hallett, Donor Recruitment Manager at Delete Blood Cancer UK said, “Anyone in good general health between the ages of 17-55 can register as a potential stem cell donor, or help with a money donation to help to cover the tissue analysis costs of recruiting potential donors.”
The event is not only being held to help find Gaurav and other patients find a donor, but to also to raise the awareness and educate people about the importance and ease of registering as a stem cell donor.
Gaurav’s parents Sonny and Gurprit Bains have been brave, dedicated parents who have supported all of the donor recruitment events and have been actively spreading awareness for the need of more Asian donors on the register, not only to help their son Gaurav, but others out there too. Sunny and Gurprit are working tirelessly to raise awareness of the urgent need to find Asian bone marrow donors, currently only 4 per cent of those on the register have the stem cell characteristics of someone of an Asian background.. Sunny said, “Until this happened to Gaurav, I had no idea of the critical shortage of Asian donors. As more and more people have become aware of Gaurav’s situation, the response has been tremendous.”
Joseph Hallett continued, “Only 30 per cent of people are lucky enough to find a matching donor for blood stem cell donation within their family. The other 70 per cent rely on the register of potential donors to try to find an unrelated donor. The search to find someone who could match their tissue type is further complicated by the fact that too few people are registered as potential stem cell donors, and you have to be registered to be matched with someone.” Gaurav’s parents and his four year old sister were tested but sadly did not provide a match for him. Sonny said “You just feel helpless, and as a parent that is one of the worst feelings in the world. If I could take his place and take the illness away from him I would, but I can’t do that.”
Foji concluded “I want us to take advantage of this opportunity to get as many people registering, educating them about being a stem cell donor and informing them of how easy it is for them to help to potentially save a life.”
The street party which is being organised by Foji Gil, in partnership with Delete Blood Cancer UK and being supported by Raaj FM radio will take place between the hours of 12-6pm on the 23rd November at Handsworth Library and South & City College, on Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9DP.