An ethnically diverse registry is key to helping those in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant
Stem cell transplants are effective in curing over 70 diseases including leukaemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anaemia. While 77 000 stem cell donors are registered in South Africa, efforts are underway to create awareness to educate the South African public to register to become donors. Every year on 14 February, South Africa commemorates National Donor Day.
National Donor Day is a global initiative to create awareness on all types of donations and provides an opportunity to focus on those who are donors and have given the gift of life.
To commemorate National Donor Day, the Sunflower Fund partnered by DKMS, pays tribute to donors who have given the gift of life. The Sunflower Fund aims to recruit over 15 000 donors in 2021, its goal is to increase its registry and call on South Africans between the ages of 18 to 55 years to register on The Sunflower Fund website (www.sunflowerfund.org).
Alana James, CEO of the Sunflower Fund partnered by DKMS says; “Our donors are the backbone of our work. They are lifesavers. Since our organisation started, we have engaged stakeholders in policy-making, corporates, non-profit organisations, the media and the public. Everyone who has supported us by requesting a swab kit, donating funds, being part of our patient appeals, we thank you for being part of the Sunflower Family and for being central to our work.
Alana continues, “The genetic diversity in African populations poses an opportunity for us to help patients of our unique genetic makeup – currently, donor numbers among the African populations are low, and we need to build it so we can save more lives,” she said.
If you are between the ages of 18-55 and in general good health, register to become a stem-cell donor today. For more information or to register visit www.sunflowerfund.org or call 0800 12 10 82.