Plaques of ap­pre­ci­a­tion pre­sented to donors

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

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

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