Primedia DJs, Africa Melane of Cape Talk
and Benito Vergotine of KFM
, Lead SA by joining the South African Bone Marrow Registry to assist patients suffering from life threatening blood disorders like leukaemia. Pathcare visited their office to take their life saving blood samples.
There is an urgent need for donors from black, coloured and Indian ethnic backgrounds as currently only 18% of the Registry is made up of these groups and the need for these donors is increasing rapidly.
Ethnic origin/heritage is very important when matching donors and patients. The ‘markers’ that are tested when searching for a match are genetically inherited and often unique to a particular race. There are currently not enough volunteers on the Register from 211 ethnic groups. This includes African, African-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, Eastern European, Mediterranean, as well as donors of mixed ethnic background. Currently only 18% of the Registry is made of Africa, Asian and mixed ethnic donors and this is something the Sunflower Fund is desperately trying to improve through public awareness and fundraising.
Finding the correct donor match depends on tissue type and because people’s genetic makeup is so varied and their tissue types are inherited characteristics, the chance of finding a suitable match is slim. In South Africa we have even more unique combinations of tissue types and therefore we need a larger registry that proportionately reflects these unique tissue types.
If we were lucky enough to have an identical twin, we would have a perfect match. There is a 1 in 4 chance of having a sibling that matches. But for 75% of patients they are not this fortunate and have to look on the bone marrow registry for an unrelated matched donor.
People of all races need to become donors so that patients from all ethnic groups are afforded the opportunity to undergo a transplant. At the same times funds need to be donated to pay for the DR typing of these expensive tests. It is important to DR type which costs R1 000 per test. The Sunflower Fund is raising funds for this purpose but relies heavily on public donations as it receives no government funding.
The Sunflower Fund looks forward to the year ahead supporting the SABMR by continuing the focus on targeted campaigns to increase the ethnic diversity of the registry.
Call 0800 12 10 82 to register as a donor or to donate funds or visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za
for more information.
To find out how you could become a life saving bone marrow stem cell donor, call 0800 12 10 82 or visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za