As a leading, blood stem cell donor registry in Africa, The Sunflower Fund is dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders by helping patients find their matching donor for a life-saving stem cell transplant. The COVID-19 crisis presents an enormous challenge in this regard, by limiting the ability to go out and recruit donors. Even during the current crisis, patients still depend on blood stem cell donations every day in order to survive.
Every 35 seconds someone somewhere in the world is diagnosed with blood cancer. For many of them a blood stem cell donation from a matching donor is their only chance of survival. The Sunflower Fund encourages everyone that is able to, to register as a potential blood stem cell donor now and to provide hope for patients worldwide.
In accordance with government’s requirements to limit the opportunities for the spread of the Covid-19 virus, The Sunflower Fund has postponed all planned drives and events for the registration of new blood stem cell donors as well as fundraising events scheduled to take place up until the end of May. This includes all drives on behalf of patients as well as drives at schools, universities, companies and sports clubs.
For anyone that would like to help by becoming a donor, or motivate others to register, The Sunflower Fund has the option of telephonic registration by calling 0800 12 10 82 or WhatsApp 074 7150 212. It’s that simple. You can start the process of saving a life from the comfort and safety of your home.
“As always, any adult between the ages of 18 and 45 years and in general good health can still register,” says Alana James, CEO of The Sunflower Fund. “You also need to weigh more than 50kgs and have a BMI of less than 40,” James added.
A patient has the best chance of finding a match from someone with the same ethnicity. There is only a 25% chance that a sibling will be a match for a patient. The remaining 75% possibility and hope of a life-saving match is from an unrelated donor.
“Patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders such as Aplastic Anaemia, Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell disease to name but a few, are particularly vulnerable during times of pandemics,” James added.
“Their already compromised immune systems put them at constant risk of infection under normal circumstances, and you might be the life-saving hope they are waiting on,” James concluded.
Leukaemia survivor Sharleigh Wilken, a wife and a mother of two had her lifesaving transplant in October 2014, and she is still in good health today.
“After spending many months in a hospital isolation room during treatment, I’ve spent these days of the national lockdown reconnecting with my family,” said Wilken.
Wilken has also sent a plea message to the public “Please become a blood stem cell donor. The HOPE that you bring to the patient and their family is immeasurable.”
To find out more about blood stem cell donation, visit www.sunflowerfund.org.
Let’s unite to save lives. Hope begins with you.