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Sunflower Fund Celebrates 20 Years Of Helping Save Lives

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The Sunflower Fund, partnered by DKMS’s annual Sunflower Day, celebrates 20 years of raising funds for the fight against blood disorders such as leukaemia and sickle cell disease. Normally held on the third Friday of September, Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have resulted in Sunflower Day being moved to 13 November this year.

Every year, funds raised from the sale of the versatile Tube of Hope (TOPE) – headband, mask, scarf, cap or armband – go towards helping recruit stem cell donors, as well as towards a patient support fund, which helps patients who need financial assistance in getting to transplant.

The Sunflower Fund CEO, Alana James, says Sunflower Day has always been about celebrating hope and giving hope. “This is especially significant given the period of lockdown and isolation the world has endured this year.

“The isolation and constant sterilisation due to lockdown has now given us a sense of what it feels like to be a patient and their families. This type of isolation is what many patients endure for months on end – and some for years –  while waiting for a life-saving transplant.

“This year, more than ever, realising the value of time with loved ones, of family and the value of freedom, The Sunflower Fund believes it can engender a greater understanding around its message of hope for Sunflower Day,” she adds.

The Sunflower Fund was launched two decades ago to grow the number of registered donors in South Africa. Since its inception in 2000, The Sunflower Fund has recruited more than 76 000 donors in South Africa and spent close to R3 million on inpatient support to assist families with the costs associated with getting to transplant.

With a view to growing its impact ever further, The Sunflower Fund entered into a partnership with DKMS this year. DKMS is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders. DKMS is the largest network of donor centres in the world with more than 10 million registered blood stem cell donors.

With the purchase of a Tope, you are contributing to The Sunflower Fund and our efforts to recruit as many stem cell donors as possible, giving hope of life to patients and their families.

The TOPE will be on sale for a mere R30 at Pick n Pay stores, selected independent (ICPA) pharmacies and online at Zando.

To register as a Stem Cell Donor or to find out more about becoming a donor visit: sunflowerfund.org/be-a-donor/

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