Northern Cape based 9-year-old, Oreokame Sehularo, has not led the average life of most young boys his age as he fought through a number of critical medical diagnoses since birth. Oreokame is a fun-loving child who is crazy about jumping castles and birthday parties. Unfortunately, having frequented the hospital for most of his life, his first real birthday party at home was at the age of 7. With the help of the community, Oreokame can have the most memorable 10th birthday ever with many more to come.
Being the tenacious boy his family lovingly know him as, Oreokame has overcome and towered over many of his challenges save the grave diagnosis that came in 2016 when he was diagnosed with Fanconi Anaemia, a rare disease that mainly affects the bone marrow. Five years and numerous intensive treatments later, doctors at the Unitas Paediatric Oncology Unit have confirmed that Oreokame is currently transfusion dependent and desperately needs a life-saving blood stem cell transplant. Oreokame’s family members have been tested and are sadly not a match for him so he now has to find an unrelated donor match, the chances of which are 1 in 100 000 within one’s own ethnic group.
DKMS Africa Country Executive Director, Alana James, says “We have been deeply moved by Oreokame’s plight and are urging everyone who can assist him and many other children like him to register to become stem cell donors. We want to make sure that his 10th birthday is his most memorable and are asking the South African community to help us make this possible.”
DKMS Africa helps with patients across South Africa, assisting them to get a transplant.
The old African proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, could not be more relevant than now. The South African community is urged to rally around Oreokame and not only help him to survive but to thrive with a life that is healthy and full, one that he has lacked thus far but so richly deserves.
“The Sehularo family, together with DKMS Africa, are sending out an appeal to as many eligible people as possible to register, especially those of Black African descent. Patients of colour are at a distinct disadvantage due to the low number of registered donors from Black, Coloured and Indian population groups in the global donor database.
Every new donor registered gives hope to Oreokame and patients like him.
Anyone who is healthy and between the ages of 18 and 55 is eligible to register and if one is a successful match, the process of donating blood stem cells is as painless as donating blood, much like donating blood platelets.
DKMS Africa, formerly known as The Sunflower Fund, is the South African entity of the global DKMS family. DKMS is a stem cell donor registry and has registered over 10.6 million donors worldwide. To register as a donor is a quick and simple process which involves a non-invasive cheek swab. Once you have registered online, a swab kit is sent to you via courier and then collected when you have completed the process.
For more information or to register as a blood stem cell donor, please visit www.dkms-africa.org or call 0800 12 10 82, weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm.