When Elkhan Zaki-Zada was only one year old he was diagnosed with thalassemia. With thalassemia (“Mediterranean anaemia”), due to a genetic defect, only red blood cells with a reduced ability to transport vital oxygen are produced in the bone marrow. There are several types of thalassemia which differ in terms of severity. Patients who are severely affected, require regular blood transfusions. Unfortunately, over time the iron contained in these transfusions will lead to serious organ damage, which means that a timely bone marrow transplant is the only chance of survival for the patient. For Elkhan his illness was also a race against time.
Unfortunately his family did not have enough money to pay for the lifesaving blood stem cell donation. Teachers discovered Elkhan’s musical talent early on when he decided to play the violin during his music lessons. With success: Elkhan was able to perform internationally, won several awards for young musicians e.g. the Russian Grand Prix and was awarded the “Future Prize” by the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs in his home country. It was as a result of his performances that he caught the eye of his anonymous, benevolent sponsor who enabled him to receive the life-saving stem cell transplantation in Germany.
On the 25th anniversary of DKMS, he met his donor, Monika Hausmann (52 years old).