Blood is essential for good health. It makes up around 7% of the weight of a human body and is an incredibly important bodily fluid that transports oxygen and various nutrients to our body’s cells. The body depends on a steady supply of fuel and oxygen to reach its billions of cells. Even the heart couldn't survive without blood flowing through the vessels that bring nourishment to its muscular walls.
Most people do not think about the function and importance of blood until something happens that causes them to need a blood transfusion or until they or someone close to them is diagnosed with a blood disease.
In the latter instance, sometimes the only hope of survival is a stem cell transplant, however finding a match is exceptionally challenging especially given the fact that there is only a 25% chance of finding a match with a family member. Finding a matched unrelated donor might be someone’s only hope of survival and you might just be that match.
The Sunflower Fund is the premier organisation in Southern Africa that actively recruits stem cell donors, create awareness about the need for and the process involved in being a stem cell donor and raises funds for the tissue-typing cost of R3000 per individual to register as a donor.
“One of our very critical goals is to ensure that the Sunflower Fund’s stem cell registry is an ethnically diverse source of potential stem cell donors, who are committed to help save lives”, says Alana James CEO at The Sunflower Fund.
“It is therefore important for us to to dispel some myths around stem cell donation, raise awareness and recruit donors”, she continued.
“Through the recruitment of blood stem cell donors we provide the hope of cure to individuals diagnosed with Leukaemia and other blood diseases whose only hope of recovery is a stem cell transplant”, she added.
A blood stem cell transplant can be a potentially life-saving treatment for more than 70 different diseases. More than 50,000 patients worldwide receive transplants every year, and this number continues to rise. However, Africa currently only accounts for less than 5% of the global transplant figure.
Blood diseases are not partial to race, age or gender. There are patients as young as 4 years old currently in search of a match in South Africa. Individuals have a better chance of finding a match within the same ethnic background as themselves. As such people from all backgrounds are encouraged to become donors.
“If you are in general good health, between the ages of 18-45 years and have a BMI of less than 40, make a decision today to be the hope for someone and contact The Sunflower Fund to find out more about stem cell donation”, James continued.
You can also help The Fund with financial contributions to assist the fundraising efforts for the tissue-typing test costs and the patient support fund. Visit www.sunflowerfund.org to make a quick and easy cash donation. For more information or to register please contact The Sunflower Fund on toll-free number: 0800 12 10 82.