Photo supplied: Nik Rabinowitz – Husband, Father of 3, stand-up Comic, Sunflower Fund supporter

JohannesburgMore than 200 000 people are expected to don funky, new-look Topes (Tubes of Hope) for this year’s Sunflower Day on 15 September.

Every single Tope sold at Pick n Pay was a direct donation to the Sunflower Fund.

When Pick n Pay first joined forces with the Sunflower Fund in 2003 - for what was then known as Bandana Day - the aim was to increase the number of critically needed donors registered on the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) to help save the lives of leukaemia and other blood disorder sufferers in South Africa through bone marrow transplants.

Director of Transformation at Pick n Pay, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman “The highlights for me over the years are the crazy campaigns we used to do, and the publicity stunts we pulled off to raise awareness. The worst and simultaneously best one we did was to tie a huge bandana over the nose of a Boeing 747 in the midst of a Cape Town storm. The gigantic banner made it onto the airplane, but with the storm it didn’t manage to take off”. 

“There are so many success stories to celebrate around this campaign, but it’s also important to acknowledge Pick n Pay staff who raised awareness by wearing bandanas, and now Topes. And while we have fantastic stories of successes achieved, sadly there are still too few of them, because we just don’t have a broad enough donor base.”

“We really should have more success stories to tell by now. While more people are aware of the need to register as bone marrow donors, there’s still a lot of ignorance about what a condition like this really is,” said Ackerman-Berman. “We hope to change that.”

Topes will go on sale in Pick n Pay stores and on Pick n Pay’s online shopping site on 7 August. With a hip new design, they cost R25, and are manufactured by PnP Clothing. All the money raised from the sale of the Topes goes to fund Sunflower Fund donors.

“These Topes fly off the shelves, with many schools and businesses having fun days on 15 September when they wear them, and they do sell out fast,” said Ackerman-Berman.

Read also: Sunflower Fund donates excess bandanas to good cause

Alana James, CEO of The Sunflower Fund, said: “I love our Sunflower Day campaign; the excitement in our schools competition, the buzz on social media and the support from our partners, patients and communities is truly inspiring. 

To see our Topes being worn with pride is not just an honour for us, but a salute to our survivors, our fighters, and our memories of loved ones; it is a show of support, a symbol of hope.

“There’s a huge need to break down cultural myths about blood, we desperately need a donor registry that is as diverse as South Africa is,” said James.