NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DKMS, the international non-profit leading the fight against blood cancer, teamed with the film industry and launched #CastingforaHero, a campaign designed to raise awareness about diversity in bone marrow donation and to urge more people to swab their cheeks and register as potential lifesaving bone marrow/blood stem cell donors. The campaign was first launched by actor/producer Vin Diesel, has been supported on social media by ‘Fast’ franchise players Tyrese Gibson, Cris Bridges (Ludacris), Don Omar and the brother of late actor Paul Walker, Cody Walker, and will be joined by other cast members to support the campaign this month. It has also garnered support by a number of celebrities including Guardians of the Galaxy actress, Zoe Saldana and Larenz Tate. Tate appeared on the television show POWER, alongside Charlie Murphy, who passed away earlier this month from complications related to blood cancer.
Diesel launched the campaign on his Instagram (@vindiesel) posting, “Today, premiere day (April 8), I am proud to launch #CastingforaHero - a campaign to save lives by increasing the multicultural community's presence in the worldwide bone marrow registries.”
The campaign was conceived by DKMS through a partnership with Samantha Vincent, (Executive Producer, the Fate of the Furious) and Frank E. Flowers (Director, Haven) after they lost a family member to leukemia and became aware of the overwhelming odds faced by minorities and those of mixed race backgrounds of finding an unrelated match due to being underrepresented on the registry. Of all donors registered only 6% are African American, 9% are Hispanic/Latino, 6% are Asians, and 4% are Mixed Race.
In partnership with the community, one of the nation’s premier cross cultural creative advertising agencies, the #castingforahero concept was developed and executed through social and experiential channels leveraging key influencers with the goal of raising awareness and activating younger donors. The campaign was launched with the support of Universal Pictures, Saturday, April 8 during the Fate of the Furious #F8 premiere at Radio City Music Hall in NYC, with #castingforahero photo booths present at the F8 premiere after party which gave VIP guests an opportunity to register.
In the companion video, written and directed by Flowers and produced by Andrew Molina, Anne McCarthy (Casting Director, Furious 7) and her associates audition real-life unknown actors for a “hero” role where they are asked to cold-read scripts about the lack of diversity on the bone marrow registry. The actors become emotional upon learning the scripts are in fact about themselves and their own chances to beat a disease like leukemia if there are not enough potential donors registered who share the same ancestry. The video calls for more true heroes – potential bone marrow/blood stem cell donors – to join the effort to fight blood cancer and help find more matches for people of all ethnic backgrounds.
The newly launched website, castingforahero.com, allows people to create their own casting photo with custom skins representing unique identities and share on their social media platforms, while directing them to register with DKMS as a potential lifesaving donor.
“Each year thousands of people lose the fight against blood cancer because they are unable to find their hero: a lifesaving bone marrow match,” said Katharina Harf, co-founder of DKMS US. “#CastingforaHero will help bring attention to the need for more diversity among potential bone marrow donors. By registering to become a DKMS donor, you can change the odds and become a life-saving hero yourself.”
DKMS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating blood cancers like Leukemia and other blood-related illnesses inspiring both men and women around the world to register as bone marrow and blood stem cell donors. DKMS is providing patients with a second chance at life, working closely with families from diagnosis to transplant and beyond. The donor journey begins with a swab of the cheek that takes less than 60 seconds and can be the action that leads to a lifesaving transplant. DKMS, 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, please go to dkms.org or @DKMS.us.