Katharina Stephan, a student of psychology at our university, feels very deeply about a particular matter: the younger brother of a long-time friend of hers has leukaemia and urgently needs a bone marrow donation. He has now given her a letter, which we are pleased to post on „Wir-Online“. After all, each and every one of you can help!


My name is Vanja.

I am 15 years young, a keen football player for SG Kirchheim, and am waiting for a suitable lifesaver donor.

A few weeks ago, my life was turned completely upside down. While playing football for SG Kirchheim in a match against SV Waldhof, I suddenly collapsed on the pitch during the first half. I was immediately taken to hospital, only to be given the devastating diagnosis of leukaemia. In an instant, my life and plans were completely turned upside down. It soon became clear that I had no chance of recovery without a suitable stem cell donor. But my treatment is fraught with obstacles: I have a very rare blood count and my exact origin is unknown because I was adopted shortly after birth. I grew up in a loving adoptive family, and they are actively supporting me during this difficult time. So far, no suitable donor has been found in Central Europe because I am probably not entirely of European origin. This is the reason why I am depending on YOU. The more people register, the sooner I – and many others like me – can be helped. In fact, one in ten patients are waiting for a suitable lifesaver donor. And I am one of them.

Everyday hospital life is also proving to be very difficult at the moment. The coronavirus pandemic means that we children and youngsters are not allowed to play together or talk to each other. We have to spend the whole time in our rooms to avoid exposure to the risk of infection. And our worried parents must decide which of the two may visit us. Brothers, sisters and friends may not enter the hospital at all – we can only see them via video chat.

In other words, the more people register now, the sooner we have a chance of recovery, enabling us to sit at the table with our families, pursue our hobbies and enjoy our lives. For this reason, my family and I urge you to:

Register as a stem cell donor with DKMS and become our potential lifesavers!

If you want to read up about how you can support us, visit DKMS at https://www.dkms.de/de/aktion/lebensretter-fuer-vanja or follow the Instagram account “allefuervanja”.

I wish you all the best!