We launched our joint pilot programme with Be The Match to support young patients from South Africa suffering from blood cancer and life-threatening blood disorders such as severe aplastic anemia on International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD). With “DKMS State Patient Support, in Partnership with Be The Match” we will enable eight state patients aged between 0 and 18 years in need of a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor to receive life-saving treatment.
While South Africa’s public healthcare system fully covers the cost for the blood stem cell transplantation for patients who have found a matching donor within their family, patients who rely on a stranger to donate their cells are faced with two major challenges in their journey to transplantation: A matching donor has to be found and they need to pay for the donor-related costs. Together with Be The Match we will bridge this gap for patients without medical aid who cannot afford the donor-related costs that are not covered by the public health care system to provide them with a second chance at life – no matter which donor center the selected donor registered with.
This year, Red Cross Children's Hospital drew attention to ICCD with an event which allowed us to introduce our commitment to media and other opinion leaders at the largest children's hospital on the African continent. To make the event memorable, our team at DKMS Africa collaborated with a local primary school, Walmer Estate Primary, to create a book “A Book of Hope: From Children to Children”. Filled with messages from the primary school students, the book is intended to give courage and hope to children with cancer. The compiled book is a 21-page visual of drawings that merge into the word “HOPE”.
The hopes and dreams of children are often simple - to laugh, play and be free, but for children fighting illnesses such as blood cancer and blood disorders, these dreams seem far out of reach. In solidarity with the many brave warriors fighting unimaginable battles, we dedicate this book to you. We hope that it brings some light to your journey.
In developing this book, the DKMS Africa team witnessed first-hand the kindness of the pupils at Walmer Estate Primary School. Their genuine acts of love and ubuntu towards fellow children, who they have never met was a rare lesson in humanity. This book is a collection of messages of support from these learners. While many of us may never understand the journey of being a patient, we would like to let you know that we are all #UnitedByHope. We are rooting for you.