Learners taught about stem cell donation

2018-10-02 06:01
Kirstenhof Primary School united under the goal of raising awareness about stem cell transplants.

Kirstenhof Primary School united under the goal of raising awareness about stem cell transplants.

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Kirstenhof Primary School took advantage of World Bone Marrow Day to educate learners about stem cell transplants and being a donor on Friday 14 September.

The school has over 750 learners.

The school, in partnership with the Sunflower Fund, saw a need to educate children about this day to create a culture of change and of humans who are willing to be selfless and care for one another.

Lauren Fisher, a teacher at the school, says although illnesses related to stem cell transplant affect many people, the topic is seldom spoken about.

She says: “There are too many people dying from leukaemia.

“We need to get as many people on board as possible and create the largest registry of donors possible.

“Becoming a registered donor is a part of this. We often underestimate the power of a group of learners coming together with a purpose.

“Children need to know that there is a way they can help. We also hope they will spread the message to their families who can become registered donors.”

Fisher says to make sure all learners were engaged and felt part of the event, the school organised a gymnaestrada parade, which saw all of them doing a sequence of movements with their Sunflower Fund Tubes of Hope (Topes) all on one whistle and forming a South African map, which she says proved that every individual makes a difference.

They were joined by survivors of stem cell illnesses who shared their experiences with the learners and gave a message of hope.

One of them was 29-year-old Mariska Venter­.

Venter had to wait a long time to find a matching donor after she was diagnosed with leukaemia and none of her sisters was a match.

She says waiting on a donor is a scary experience she does not wish on anyone and which can be avoided.

Venter says the celebration was special to her because it gave hope that more people would be interested in becoming donors and lessen the frustration in the process of stem cell transplant for anyone that could be affected­.

She thanked the school for organising the event and encouraged children to share the information among their families and friends.

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