16-year-old Axola from Qonce in the Eastern Cape has recently been diagnosed with a blood disorder – severe aplastic anaemia – he requires a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. Severe aplastic anaemia is a condition whereby bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells. A stem cell transplant offers the patient a second chance at life.
According to his family, Axola is a fun-loving, sweet boy who enjoys life with family and friends. Prior to the diagnosis, the young, aspiring rugby player began to experience random nose bleeds, had pale skin, ear-aches and had bleeding of the gums.
News that Axola had a life-threatening blood disease devastated his grandmother and aunt – both of whom have looked after him following his mother’s death when he was only two. News of the severity of his illness caught them completely off guard.
“Axola was looking forward to finishing school and going to university. Before he fell ill, he was a passionate rugby player who dreamt of playing for the Western Province Rugby team. He looks up to Siya Kolisi as an inspirational hero,” said his aunt.
Every 5 minutes, someone in South Africa is diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder. A stem cell transplant is the only hope of survival for many of these patients. There are over 37 million registered donors worldwide, and DKMS has registered over 10.5 million donors and facilitated more than 91 000 transplants, this means 91 000 second chances of life for patients suffering from a life-threatening blood disorder.
According to DKMS Africa Country Executive, Alana James, Axola’s condition is critical and many patients of African descent and those of mixed race 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. DKMS Africa urges everyone to register to grow an ethnically diverse registry in order to give Axola a better chance of finding a perfect match.
“I plead with anyone who can assist my boy and help him regain his life so he can do all the things he once loved,” concluded his aunt.
DKMS Africa educates and raises awareness about the need for stem cell donors, and well as the importance of recruiting donors to build and maintain a registry of committed donors.