Tales of gratefulness

2016-10-05 12:48
Celebrating a new book by the South African Bone Marrow Registry are, from left, Chris Schutte (a donor), An-Louise Louw (a recipient) Dr Charlotte Ingram (CEO of the South African Bone Marrow Registry), Ricki-Lee Hamman (a recipient who contributed to the book), Joshua King (a recipient) and Max Klausing from Germany (a donor).

Celebrating a new book by the South African Bone Marrow Registry are, from left, Chris Schutte (a donor), An-Louise Louw (a recipient) Dr Charlotte Ingram (CEO of the South African Bone Marrow Registry), Ricki-Lee Hamman (a recipient who contributed to the book), Joshua King (a recipient) and Max Klausing from Germany (a donor). (Gary van Dyk)

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The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) is celebrating 25 years of saving lives by launching a book telling the inspiring stories of donors and recipients.
And, they’re calling on more people to become part of that story.

The registry was established in 1991 to find compatible, unrelated bone-marrow donors for South African patients with life-threatening blood disorders.

To date, this non-profit organisation has facilitated stem-cell transplants for 383 patients in South Africa.

“We believe our stories, knowledge and experience should be shared,” says SABMR medical director Dr Charlotte Ingram.

“To mark 25 years, the SABMR decided to collate its journey thus far in book form.

“By sharing our history and our patient and donor stories, we believe we will engage with many more South Africans who will be encouraged to become donors and help us grow our reach, both locally and internationally. This book, showcasing the SABMR’s two-and-a-half decades of commitment and work, gives us the opportunity to do just that.”

Zolani Mahola, lead singer of Freshlyground and a supporter of the SABMR, lent her voice to the book. “I registered as a donor after a friend was diagnosed with a bone-marrow disorder,” she says.

“If we can help each other, why not? I feel it’s almost a civic duty – there are so many things we could do to assist others that might put us way too far out of our comfort zones, but this is something we can do and we should do.

“It would be an honour for me to have even a chance of saving someone’s life. That’s not something you get every day. That’s really being of service.”

The book, An Uncommon Gift, includes the SABMR’s history, information on the donor search process and the medical aspects of stem-cell donation, and comment from those involved in a bone marrow transplant: donors, stem cell couriers, doctors and nurses, the staff of the SABMR, their network of international registries, fundraisers and recruiters such as the Sunflower Fund, the SABMR’s key recruitment partner.

The book shares many moving stories of the SABMR’s patients – men and women who are grateful to be seeing their children and grandchildren grow up, teenagers who recovered and are living their dreams and children who defied medical odds and are now thriving at school.

The book will be available via the SABMR office. Email admin@sabmr.co.za.


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