Stem cell donors needed

2016-09-14 06:00

THE South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is encouraging blood donors to sign up as stem cell donors when donating blood in September.

This clarion call is in support of Stem Cell Donation Month which runs during September.

The initiative is a partnership with the Sunflower Fund, a non-profit organisation that aims to create awareness, educate the public and facilitate the registration process for people to join the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).

Whoever signs up become someone’s one-in-a-100 000 chance of survival.

The call for public participation and support stems from the fact that every year there are thousands of people whose lives are threatened by blood diseases.

These blood diseases include leukaemia, aplastic anaemia and other inheri-ted genetic blood disorders.

Stem cell transplants are a life-saving treatment option for South Africans diagnosed with these blood diseases.

The chances of being called to donate stem cells are minor as there are difficulties matching a donor and a recipient.

Through this programme, stakeholders SANBS and Sunflower Fund strive to increase the chances of finding a match to help those in need.

According to the SANBS, the chances of finding a donor is one in a 100 000.

Having an extensive database of donors increase the chances that a match will be found.

Teenager Tashnika Rambali is a living proof that the initiative indeed saves lives.

Tashnika was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2014.

Her life was saved by using donated blood.

“Without these blood products, I believe that I would not have been strong enough for chemotherapy and to fight the cancer,” said Tashnika.

After fighting one battle and coming out victorious, Tashnika has one more looming and that is finding a stem cell match.

SANBS urges all blood donors to join the registry and help create a chance for people like Tashnika to survive.

For more information on the Sunflower Fund call 0800-12-10-82 or visit

To find out when the next blood donation is taking place where you can also register as a stem cell donor, call 0800-11-90-3 or send an email to

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