Cape Town – Freshlyground lead singer Zolani Mahola has thrown her support behind the SA Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) campaign to raise R300 000 to assist four local children in dire need of a life-saving stem-cell transplant.
The “Give a Little, Save a Life” campaign has been launched on the donation-based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy.
The four children in question are a 10-year-old girl with leukaemia from the Eastern Cape; an 8-year-old boy with a hereditary form of anaemia, being treated at a state hospital in the Western Cape; and a brother and sister with a hereditary form of anaemia, referred by a state hospital in Limpopo.
To date, the SABMR has helped save the lives of nearly 500 patients with life-threatening blood disorders by matching them with healthy, unrelated bone marrow donors from South Africa and the rest of the world.
The “Give a Little, Save a Life” campaign went live on November 21 last year and has raised R49 923.01 thus far, with contributions from 108 donors.
For such patients, a stem-cell transplant is their only chance at a healthy, normal life.
But many struggle to cover the donor-related costs of the procedure, which replaces cancer cells and makes new blood cells.
The SABMR is constantly looking to increase its database, both in numbers as well as ethnic diversity.
Mahola became a bone marrow donor two years ago.
“When a close friend of mine passed away from leukaemia a few years ago, I realised just how important it was to become a donor and that I could potentially save someone’s life with this small sacrifice,” Mahola said.
“As a nation, we have a rich history of ubuntu and we must continually find new ways of expressing it.
‘‘With many of our donors coming from overseas, we need more donors of African descent.
“With the procedure itself not being the onerous and painful task it used to be, we have so much potential to make a difference at home,” she said. Mahola appealed to the public to be generous in supporting the SABMR’s crowdfunding campaign.
“I believe we are all connected and where we feel called to help, we should. These children could be our sons and daughters, our little nieces and nephews.
"We have a chance to extend their lives so they too can have the opportunity to one day help others. I’m thrilled at the notion that even a little bit out of our pockets can go towards ensuring these beautiful children have a future,” Mahola said.
All funds raised will be managed by the SABMR. Donors will also be eligible for a Section 18A tax certificate issued by the organisation, BackaBuddy spokesperson Zane Groenewald said.