Karaiskakio Foundation is a non – profit organization established with the sole purpose of organizing a volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Today, by setting a dynamic vision “for a world without leukemia”, it combines volunteering and specialized scientific support, in order to serve the needs of patients with haematological malignancies botheffectively and efficiently.
The driving force behind the establishment of the Karaiskakio Foundation was the fight against leukemia given by YiannisTriteos, Anna Georgiou from London and the five-year old Andreas Karaiskakis from Cyprus, who unfortunately lost this battle after desperate attempts to find a matching donor.
It was named “Karaiskakio Foundation” in memory of Andreas Karaiskakis, after his family donated the fund-raising money collected for a pending bone marrow transplantation of their child to the Ministry of Health with the promise of creating a Bone Marrow Donor Registry in Cyprus.
Through international networking, research and innovation, Karaiskakio Foundation aspires to evolve into a modern regional scientific centre of excellence which together with its partners will lead the fight against leukemia. To achieve its purpose and vision, the Foundation has set the following objectives:
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND FISCAL POLICY
The main objective of the fiscal policy of Karaiskakio Foundation is to achieve economic stability while encouraging growth and development, so that the needs of patients with haematological malignancies and related diseases can be served efficiently and effectively, without any financial burden to the patients or their families. For its economic strengthening and development, the Foundation relies on income from the provision of its services, on government sponsorship for the support of the Cyprus Donor Registry, on the active participation of benefactors and finally on revenue from various sponsorships, contributions, donations and other activities.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The organization and operation of Karaiskakio Foundation is directed by the Board of Directors (BOD), whose members are appointed by the co-founders namely the Ministry of Health, the Association of Friendsof Karaiskakio Foundation, the family of Andreas Karaiskakis and theLeukemia Cancer Society of the United Kingdom.
The Board ensures the application of the provisions of the Foundation’s articles of association, represents the Foundation in the pursuit of its goals and objectives, manages its finances and appoints its personnel. All members of the Board offer their services without pay.
Local Collaboration Network:
Karaiskakio Foundation works closely with both the Pediatric Oncology Department and the Hematology Departments of public hospitals as well as with the hematologists in the private sector. Hospital blood banks function as registration and collection points for volunteer donors and the needs of the registry, while the Hematology Department of the Nicosia General Hospital is the center for collecting bone marrow transplants and also houses the laboratory for cryopreservation of umbilical cord blood units.
Karaiskakio Foundation has been recognized for its achievements, both at a local and an international level. The Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor registry is the largest per capita in the world.
The Leukemia Cancer Society, UK- http://www.
Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide-BMDW-http://www.bmdw.org/ is a collaborative effort of stem cell donor registries and cord blood banks, whose goal is to provide centralized information on the HLA phenotypes and other relevant data of unrelated stem cell donors and cord blood units and to make this information easily accessible to the physicians of patients in need of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. All the donors registered in the Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry are listed in the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) organization, thus giving patients from around the world the chance to locate a matching donor.
World Marrow Donors Association-WMDA-http://www.worldmarrow.org/ is an international voluntary network of donor registries and cord blood banks, which aims at promoting global cooperation in the search for and provision of high quality haematopoietic stem cells. Karaiskakio Foundation is a member of WMDA since 2000, and the Cyprus registry is one of the first registries in the world to be accredited by the agency.
The European Federation of Immunogenetics-EFI-http://www.efiweb.eu is anorganization aiming towards the development of Immunogenetics as a subspecialty of laboratory medicine by promoting research and education in this field. The Immunogenetics laboratory of the Karaiskakio Foundation has been accredited by the European Federation of Immunogenetics (EFI) since 2004.
The European Leukemia Net- http://www.leukemia-net.org/ is an organization of physicians, scientists and patients, funded by the European Union, with interest in the field of leukemia. The organization aims to improve the treatment but also the knowledge around leukemia in Europe, as well as to promote excellence in this area. The European Leukemia Net website provides information for doctors and patients (e.g. patient organizations in Europe), regarding current clinical trials and other information about the disease. Karaiskakio Foundation has been an active member of the ELN since 2008.
The Karaiskakio Foundation has received funding under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism in the Programming Period 2009-2014, for upgrading part of its infrastructure, advancement of expertise on the subject, promotion of public awareness and enhancement the bone marrow donor registry in Cyprus. Aiming to improve public health and reduce health inequalities, through the proposed project, the Karaiskakio Foundation has enhanced its local health infrastructure with the establishment of a state-of-the art, specialised Childhood Cancer Diagnostic Laboratory which provides diagnostic support to the paediatric and other cancer patients.
The establishment of the Childhood Cancer Diagnostic Laboratory contributes towards:
• Technological progress in the diagnostic field and better understanding of cancer pathology, improvement of patient health and reduction of health inequalities
• Integrated and comprehensive analysis at the early stage of disease identification and classification, management, and treatment
• Structured, systematic and comprehensive laboratory support to patients, hence minimizing the time needed for diagnosis
• Opportunities to young scientists to excel in the field of cancer, invest in people through education
• Increase Social Awareness on cancer.
A parallel objective of the project is the enhancement of the Bone Marrow Donor Registry with new volunteer donors. The challenge is to find the means to attract and to cultivate the feeling of altruism in young adults, through modern means of communication (e.g., apps, social media, self-service stations, short videos etc).
The project further enhances the collaboration of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot Communities in Cyprus.
The Karaiskakio Foundation is already engaged in bi-communal collaboration through the Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the greatest in significance and size bi-communal project since 1974. The Kemal Saracoglu Association (a Turkish Cypriot NGO) actively supports the Karaiskakio Foundation in contacting donors and serves as a contact point to help Turkish Cypriot patients and physicians to access the services of the Foundation. Furthermore, the Karaiskakio Foundation is providing both diagnostic and donor search services free of charge to all leukaemia and cancer patients from both the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot community.