Give someone a chance to live by joining the stem cell registry
Durban - Every year individuals around the world are diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood diseases.
For many, their only hope of a cure is a life-saving blood stem cell transplant. This is why the Sunflower Fund will be embarking on a blood stem cell donor drive which will be held on Tuesday to recruit donors onto their registry.
At least 75% of stem cell patients are under the age of 25 years, this is according to The Sunflower Fund - a scary fact and anyone is at risk of being diagnosed with a blood disease.
The Sunflower Fund spokesperson Xolani Hlongwane says that interested donors need to be between 18-45 and willing to help anyone.
“Donors also need to weigh the constant weight of 50 and above, no chronic illnesses, no heart, brain or back surgery.”, he said.
Speaking on the chances of finding a match Hlongwane explained that there is a 1:100 000 chance of finding a match and the best chance of a match is within your same ethnic background.
“There is only a 25% chance that a sibling will be a match. The remaining 75% chance depends on an unrelated matching donor being found. Patients of colour and mixed ethnicity around the world are at a disadvantage due to the under representation of black, coloured, Indian and Asian donors in the global donor pool”, he added.
Treating specialist paediatrician and haematologist Dr Keshnie Moodley says that leukaemia, aplastic anaemia and immune deficiencies are amongst the few blood conditions that can be managed with a blood stem cell transplant.
“Stem cells make up the component that your immune system needs to function and during the transplant, your body is rescued with an infusion of healthy blood stem cells”, she said.
The donating process is done by drawing blood from the one arm and filtering it through a cell separating machine, the blood stem cells are then collected into a bag and the rest of the blood is returned via the other arm.
The blood stem cell donor drive will start at 9.30 am to recruit well informed and committed donors onto The Sunflower Fund Registry, The drive will take place in the auditorium on the fourth floor until 3 pm of Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre.