For many the joys of celebrating Diwali this year will echo in the laughs and smiles of their family, but for 9-year old Dhiya Ramdeen, this might sadly be her last Diwali if she doesn't get a bone marrow donor soon.
Dhiya was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, a rare blood disorder, in September this year after appearing a little pale and showing red spots on her skin after a school soccer match.
After various tests and a bone marrow aspiration the family learnt that Dhiya had Aplastic Anaemia, a disease they had no knowledge of. Her parents were devastated and overcome with grief upon hearing this. "At this point we had to be strong for our daughter through these testing times," explained Dhiya's father, Ashwin Ramdeen.
Dhiya's only chance of survival now is to find a bone marrow stem cell donor match within her ethnic group. Her only sibling was tested and is not a match, which means that Dhiya stands a 1:100 000 chance of finding a match. "Please become a registered donor. You might not be a match for our daughter but there are many children in need of a stem cell transplant and you could be a potential donor for them," beckoned Ashwin.
The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) has also been searched and no donor match was found so the family urges everyone who is healthy, between the ages of 18 and 45 and weighs over 50kg’s to phone The Sunflower Fund's toll free number (0800 12 10 82) and find out how to become a donor for anyone with a life-threatening blood disorder in need of a transplant.
"It only takes two test tubes of blood to become a donor and if you are a successful match, the donor process is as painless as donating blood," explains Stephanie Berry, PR Manager for The Sunflower Fund in KwaZulu Natal. "Bone marrow is no longer surgically removed but additional white blood cells are harvested directly from the blood stream much like donating blood or platelets. Anyone not able to donate towards the cost of their test will be placed on a waiting list and when funds become available their forms will be sent to them," added Berry.
In light of doing something selfless to save another human being, please consider becoming a bone marrow donor, as only an Indian donor can save an Indian leukemia patient, and who knows you just might be the one who is called on to make that small but significant sacrifice.