The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation and the FC Barcelona Foundation, united to promote bone marrow donors among immigrants
On July 5, Josep Carreras and Joan Laporta, President of F.C. Barcelona, presented a joint campaign between Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation and F.C. Barcelona Foundation aimed at promoting bone marrow and cord blood donation among immigrants from Asian, African and South American origin. The campaign uses the structure of the indoor football competition “Colors” organised by the Club’s Foundation. This competition invites immigrants to form teams. After several qualifying rounds taking place in different cities of Catalonia, a final series held in the Club’s facilities brings together teams from every different sector. These teams mix immigrants from different origin. The affiliation to F.C. Barcelona has been historically a very powerful tool for the integration of several waves of immigrants in the Catalan society. During the territorial phases of this league, participants have the opportunity to be informed by the Carreras Foundation about a sad reality: the lack of compatible bone marrow donors or umbilical cord blood units for immigrant patients. With the message “Help us win the match against leukaemia”, the Josep Carreras Foundation gives to the league participants all the necessary information to register as bone marrow donors and thus, help a compatriot. Why is it necessary that immigrants become donors? Patients suffering leukaemia and other haematological diseases may need a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant to be cured. Only 1 of 4 persons has a compatible relative. The rest of the patients need to find a non-related donor through the Spanish Bone Marrow Donors Registry (REDMO), managed by the Josep Carreras Foundation. For many immigrants, this search is frequently unsuccessful because they belong to races underrepresented in the international registries and umbilical cord blood banks. Patients from Centre and South America, Sub-Saharan regions, the North of Africa or parts of Asia can rarely find a compatible donor and receive the transplant. The possibilities of finding a compatible donor can only increase by enlisting donors and umbilical cord units among volunteers of these races.