DKMS Student Ambassador
937. Zainab Garba-Sani
Zainab Garba-Sani, from Birmingham, is the first ever Student UK Ambassador for international blood cancer charity ‘DKMS’.
Inspired by the second chance at life a close friend received after a blood stem cell donation, Zainab supports ‘DKMS’ by increasing blood stem cell donations from BAME communities. Patients from Asian, black or ethnic minority backgrounds currently have just a 20 per cent chance of finding a matching donor. Zainab founded the charity’s first student society at the University of Bradford in 2016 where she while studying for a degree in Clinical Sciences. She worked with university sports teams and societies to raise awareness of blood cancers, fundraise and recruit 250 potential blood stem cell donors.
By the end of its first year, the DKMS Society had won ‘Awareness Society of the Year’ and ‘Campaign of the Year’ awards. 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 scheme in September.
In a personal letter to Zainab, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your campaign to increase the number of blood stem cell donors has the very real potential to save lives. As the first ever Student Ambassador for ‘DKMS’, you have inspired others to set up their own donation campaigns and increase the number of blood stem cell donors nationwide.”
Dame Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden in the West Midlands, said:
“I am delighted that Zainab Garba-Sani’s good work raising awareness and funds for international blood cancer charity ‘DKMS’, particularly in the BAME community where there is currently less than a 20% chance of finding a matching donor, has been recognised. We are so lucky to have such a strong young woman in our community and she is an inspiration.”
“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. My work with ‘DKMS’ is a constant reminder of how loving and caring people can be and how beautiful humanity truly is. Thank you to all those who believed in my vision and who have helped with its success. 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 of blood cancers and blood disorders further and encourages more people to become lifesavers. I hope it inspires others to give back in whatever way they can, as every single person has the ability to help in some way, shape or form. My ‘DKMS’ journey has brought me so much joy and I hope that it can also be a beacon of light for many others. At the end of the day, blood cancers can affect anyone, so the fight should be everyone’s.
“Prime Minister, thank you for this award. I am truly grateful.”
Shafia Begam, Senior Volunteer Manager at ‘DKMS’, said:
“We are delighted that Zainab has been recognised for her hard work in recruiting potential blood stem cell donors. We couldn’t do the work we do without volunteers like Zainab and we are grateful for her dedication in helping the fight against blood cancer.”
Watch Zainab’s response to receiving her award: