Independent Online

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Westville school plans bone marrow donor drive to help pupil, 10, beat cancer

Syamthanda Nxasana, 10, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2021, on Boxing Day, and is now at a stage in her treatment where she is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.

The school will hold a donor drive on June 22. Picture: Facebook

Published Jun 14, 2022

Share

Durban - Westville Senior Primary School pupil Syamthanda “Siya” Nxasana, 10, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2021, on Boxing Day, and after months of chemotherapy she is now at a stage in her treatment where she is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.

Due to expensive treatments this year, Siya’s medical funds have been exhausted and much-needed funds will help contribute to urgent medical costs.

Story continues below Advertisement

Acting department head at the school Peta Mumford says Siya has spent most of her 2022 school year in hospital, where she has been bravely battling the disease.

“Siya has missed her family and friends terribly. It has been a very trying time for Siya and her family; emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and financially,” she said.

Mumford says Siya has a strong fighting spirit and on days when her treatment is not weighing her down, she boldly beams with a beautiful smile of hope and determination.

To help with medical funds and urgently find her a donor, the school will be hosting a bone marrow donor drive on Wednesday, June 22.

Mumford says since no familial matches were found, the search is now on for a donor. “This is going to be a very costly and trying battle ahead, but this procedure will give her a stronger fighting chance at beating this disease.”

The donor drive will be hosted by the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).

Story continues below Advertisement

“Anyone between the ages of 16 and 45 years may come through to be tested, to see if they are a bone marrow match for Siya or anyone else battling leukaemia. This process of testing is easy and takes the form of a quick mouth swab. Please come and help us support Siya,” said Mumford.

Kapil Premchand, the sustainability and donor recruitment co-ordinator for SABMR KwaZulu-Natal, says matches are ethnic group based and encourages everyone to sign up to be a donor, but especially people of colour, as there is a low number of donors in those communities.

He said the transplant replaces a patient’s diseased bone marrow stem cells so that the patient can start producing healthy blood.

Story continues below Advertisement

“The process of donating bone marrow is simple. When people hear the words ‘bone marrow donation’ they think of an invasive procedure, but it is quite the opposite. It is similar to a platelet or blood donation, but the duration is longer and you will be under surveillance in a hospital as a precaution. Donors are given a growth factor to stimulate production of stem cells the week prior and during the donating procedure,” said Premchand.

Potential donors can visit https://sabmr.co.za/become-a-donor/ to apply.

Alternatively, Westville Senior Primary will also have donor test kits available from June 22.

Story continues below Advertisement

Share