Eastern Cape born Mzukise is a 3rd-year BSc Computer Science and Electronics student who never thought that one day he would be called a lifesaver. And like a tech-whiz wired to problem solving, Mzukise’s journey to becoming a donor started at a DKMS university donor drive.
I am a 3rd year BSc in Computer Science and Electronics at North West University and a committed DKMS Africa volunteer, aspiring to use technology to create positive change in my community.
Motivation for Choosing Computer Science:
I am an individual who values family, innovation, and the well-being of others. I aspire to be a future social entrepreneur and constantly analyse social issues to find innovative solutions that can help my community. The reason I chose to study computer science is because of the vast opportunities it offers. With this knowledge, I can develop applications to assist people in finding jobs and contribute to various sectors such as farming and healthcare. The scope is broad, and I believe I can make a significant impact.
Discovery of DKMS and Becoming a Donor:
I had the opportunity to learn about DKMS when I encountered the DKMS volunteers during a donor drive on our campus. As someone who regularly donates blood, I was immediately interested in learning more. The volunteers informed me about the dire statistics, highlighting the 1 in 100,000 chance of finding a match for patients in need. This motivated me to register as a potential stem cell donor, hoping to be that one person who could make a difference in someone's life.
Emotional Response to the Match:
Receiving the call informing me that I was a potential match for a young blood cancer patient was a moment filled with mixed emotions. Excitement blended with apprehension as I considered what the journey ahead might entail. Being a person of African background and Christian faith, I encountered raised eyebrows from family members who expressed concerns. My mother, in particular, questioned my willingness to give a part of myself to someone in need. However, I reassured her and myself that as long as it would not harm me, it was a chance to make a difference and answer someone's prayers.
The Donation Experience:
Throughout the donation process, I underwent a series of tests to ensure compatibility and overall well-being. I held onto the hope that I would experience no significant side effects. Prior research and conversations with medical professionals gave me the reassurance I needed to move forward. The journey was indeed a meaningful and fulfilling one, knowing that I had the opportunity to provide a second chance at life for someone in desperate need.
Message to the Patient:
Knowing that the patient I could potentially help was a young girl gave me courage. I sincerely hope that she prevails in her battle against blood cancer and lives a fulfilling life. It fills me with joy and gratitude to have the opportunity to play a role in giving her a second chance at life, especially considering the potential she has for a bright future.
Appeal to the South African Community:
I want to take this moment to urge my fellow South Africans, especially those of African descent, to consider registering as stem cell donors. I have come to realise how challenging it is for blood cancer patients to find compatible matches, and this struggle is even more pronounced for people of colour. I understand that misconceptions and stigmas exists, but I urge you to keep an open mind, overcome the doubts, and help change lives. Let us come together to increase the chances of finding matches and bring hope to those who need it most.