The Challenge

In 2016, more than 170,000 Americans were diagnosed with blood cancer in the form of leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. While 30 percent of patients are able to find a matching bone marrow donor within their families, 70 percent -- or about 14,000 each year -- must rely on donations from a compassionate stranger.

DKMS – which recently rebranded itself from We Delete Blood Cancer to better align its identity with the organization’s international name – is one of several worthy non-profits working to raise awareness of the disease and boost the ranks of registered donors.

To better fulfill its mission, DKMS called upon Marino to devise and implement a strategic communications program that would fortify the organization’s status as a leading voice on blood cancer and help increase donor registrations.

The Solution

Marino first worked cooperatively with DKMS to help fine-tune the organization’s messages about the marrow donation process -- and to help ensure that spokespeople were delivering these messages across all platforms to the appropriate external audiences as effectively as possible.

Marino mobilized celebrities and other influencers passionate about bone marrow donations and who wanted to elevate DKMS’ visibility through both conventional media and digital platforms.

Marino leveraged opportunities presented by National Marrow Awareness Month in November as a platform for national coverage. Marino secured advance, day-of, and post-event coverage of patient-specific bone marrow donor drives. Messaging encouraged potential donors to register by attending these events or by signing up online.

Marino underscored the organization’s human dimension by helping to both facilitate and attract coverage of a nationwide series of DKMS meetings between individual donors and patients.

The national media campaign was an enormous success, securing a portfolio of more than 130 million media impressions over a two-month period. We attracted coverage from outlets including Inside Edition, People Magazine, CBS New York, Huffington Post, and the Dallas Morning News, as well as widespread attention on an array of social media platforms.

Most important of all, DKMS witnessed an exponential increase in the number of people stepping up to register as potential bone marrow donors with the organization. Our agency is proud of the contribution we’ve helped make to the battle against blood cancer -- and we look forward to new successes.