When DKMS, one of the world’s largest bone marrow donor centers, wanted to raise the profile of its lifesaving mission during the week in which they recognize World Blood Cancer Day (May 28), they turned to sports and New York City.
DKMS locked in a partnership with the Mets for pregame festivities on May 23. They had a home plate ceremony honoring a combination of volunteers, bone marrow donors, advocates and star staff members. They created a special :30 spot for the occasion and a special “text to learn more” by texting “METS” to 50555. Two brothers, 6 and 4 years old, one a successful transplant recipient, went out on the field and helped the grounds crew replace the bases.
The non-profit also made the night at CitiField into a staff outing, and manned an information table out by the Shea Bridge where they were encouraging people to #getswabbed (a few did) while handing out branded swag celebrating World Blood Cancer Day. DKMS’s efforts brought out the New York Daily News for more than baseball and resulted in an amazing story, photo, and placement both in print (attached) and online.
Across town in the Bronx, DKMS also teamed up with the YES Network as the presenting sponsor of their Yankees Hope Week coverage. The Yankees have turned Hope Week into an amazing series of heartwarming good deeds, and this strategic positioning puts DKMS right at the forefront of YES’s daily coverage with :30 spots, on-screen branding and verbal mentions during each segment recapping Hope week.
With both home teams in town, the Empire State Building was shining red on Wednesday night in honor of DKMS’s celebration of World Blood Cancer Day.
DKMS works to get people to register as a potential none marrow/blood stem cell donor by swabbing their cheeks. The most requested donors by transplant teams are young males, 18-30.
“Our approach at a sporting event is to educate people, a soft sell, about what it means to potentially save another human being as a bone marrow/blood stem cell donor,” DKMS US VP of Marketing and Communications David Tratner said. “The connection to sports is an effective way to reach that coveted young, male demographic. By taking the first step and swabbing their cheeks at a table at a game, or signing up online, or just telling us they want to learn more, they could eventually be called upon to save someone’s life, and that’s attractive reason to get involved. We continue that education process through multi-platform communication long after the last pitch has been thrown.”
DKMS works closely with donors as well as families of patients from diagnosis to transplant and beyond. Originally founded in Germany in 1991 by Dr. Peter Harf, has organizations in Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. office was started in 2004. Globally, DKMS has registered more than 7.2 million people. To join the fight against blood cancer or for more information, check out dkms.org.