Plaques of appreciation presented to donors
SEVEN volunteer donors who gave new leases of life to strangers around the world by undergoing bone marrow transplants have been presented with plaques of appreciation.
Some 200 people were present for the presentations during the eighth Donor Gala Dinner staged by the Kemal Saraçoğlu Foundation for Children with Leukaemia and the Fight against Cancer in Lefkoşa’s Golden Tulip Hotel last Friday.
During the event, President Mustafa Akıncı gave a moving account of how members of his family and close friends had suffered as a result of cancer.
“I lost my father to cancer — but not only my father; his elder brother also passed away from the disease and I can count more whom I knew,” he said.
“It is emotional for me to be among people who gather like this in a common cause.”
Highlighting the attendance of Greek Cypriots at the gala event, Mr Akıncı said: “How delightful it is it to know that because of a Turkish Cypriot, a Greek Cypriot can continue to live their life, or that a Greek Cypriot has given a Turkish Cypriot a second chance of life.
“The struggle against health and cancer knows no race, religion, language or gender and I congratulate those who arranged this gathering and hope they continue to work in that way.”
The president, who was accompanied by his wife, “first lady” Meral Akıncı, said there was a need for people to “speak openly” about cancer, saying: “Cases should be accurately reflected in statistics but that is a great weakness in our country.”
Other guests at the gala included National Education and Culture Minister Cemal Özyiğit, Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars Kadri, Greek Cypriot politician Katy Clerides, trustees of the Kemal Saraçoğlu Foundation and officials from the Karaiskakio Foundation in South Cyprus with which it works to find and register potential bone marrow donors.
In his speech, Mr Özyiğit expressed his continuing support for the Saraçoğlu foundation, which he said played “a huge role” in raising awareness of cancer and supporting education about the disease among primary and secondary school pupils.
Head of the Saraçoğlu Foundation’s board of trustees Nevhiz Özer stressed that the foundation was the only organisation in the North working to increase registrations with the world “bank” of bone marrow donors and that to date some 45,000 Turkish Cypriots had provided blood and swab samples, including 57 who later underwent transplants to give bone marrow to recipients around the globe.
Following the speeches, 2017 and 2018 donors İsmail Volkan, Münevver Sorel, Abdurrahman Günenç, Hale Kapılgan Fıratlı, Uğur Biren, Özge Nihat and Süheyla Osmanoğlu were presented with plaques.
Activities including a raffle were staged during the night to raise funds for the foundation’s work.
Bone marrow donors and guests at the gala dinner hosted by the Kemal Saraçoğlu Foundation
President Akıncı presents a plaque to donor İsmail Volkan