Bone marrow donors sought to save Zion

2016-05-04 06:00
Zion Cole Roman’s parents are having to search internationally for a bone marrow donor to save his life.      Photo: SUPPLIED

Zion Cole Roman’s parents are having to search internationally for a bone marrow donor to save his life. Photo: SUPPLIED

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AN international search is being conducted for a bone marrow donor to save a 4-year-old Port Elizabeth boy, Zion Cole Roman’s life.

His parents are not giving up hope that by creating awareness for the need of donors, more people in South Africa will register on the South African Bone Marrow Registry.

Zion’s parents, Morne and Chantel Roman, are holding a High Tea on May 21 at the Gelvandale Community Centre to create awareness and encourage more people to register as donors in the hope of saving someone’s life.

Proceeds of the morning will go to The Sunflower Fund and Zion’s medical expenses.

Zion was diagnosed with Hyper IGM Syndrome in September 2015.

He is currently on monthly treatment until a possible donor match is found.

Due to the illness, his body does not produce enough antibodies to fight off infections, bacteria and viruses which results in him having to “live in a bubble”.

“As parents this has been very difficult as it is a life adjustment – not only for our son but also the whole family on how we do things and to implement measures to prevent him from getting sick – which is not always possible,” said Chantel.

One example of this is having to take him out of playschool and minimising his contact with large groups of children or people.

“Any parent knows that a 4-year-old wants to play, get out the house, even something as simple as going to Spur,” said Chantel.

“As his parents we chose to be positive and we have come to the realization that this is bigger than us; it is not only about saving Zion. It is about every single person out there suffering each day in silence waiting and praying for someone to save them. Thus we have made it our mission to reach out and by any means possible help to try to increase the South African Bone Marrow Registry,” she said.

“Our hope is not to only find a match for Zion, but also for anyone else suffering. By God’s grace we can conquer this and we shall,” said Chantel.

The Sunflower Fund recruits donors for the SA Bone Marrow Registry, to help people such as Zion, find their life-saving donor match. There is a desperate need for more stem cell donors, especially from key population groups.

Donor matches depend on tissue types – not blood types – and genetic characteristics are often more frequent in a specific ethnic group.

To register as a potential donor, interested people should phone The Sunflower Fund’s toll free number at 0800 12 10 82 or visit the website

Tickets for Zion’s High Tea have been sold out but sponsors and donations will be welcomed.

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