National Cancer Survivors Day is commemorated annually on the first Sunday of June. When it comes to blood cancer, someone in South Africa is diagnosed every 72 minutes and blood stem cell transplants are often the only hope to treat blood cancers and disorders.
National Cancer Survivors Day is commemorated annually on the first Sunday of June. When it comes to blood cancer, someone in South Africa is diagnosed every 72 minutes and blood stem cell transplants are often the only hope to treat blood cancers and disorders. There are close to 70 different kinds of blood cancers and disorders.
Immediate relatives like a biological mother, father and immediate siblings are often genetically typed first to determine whether they are matches. However, only 25% of patients find matches within their family and 70% rely on unrelated matches.
DKMS Africa has a global, genetically diverse registry with 11 million donors. However, the registry, which started in Germany, mostly comprises of people of European descent. Often, patients of different ethnicities have fewer chances of finding a match due to low numbers of registered Black, Asian, Coloured and Indian populations. The outcomes for patients can be filled with many obstacles towards finding a match. This National Cancer Survivors Day, we celebrate all patients who have fought cancer, however, we need South Africans to register to become donors for the many patients who are desperately looking for a match.
One such patient who is in search of a match is Juliet, a 38-year-old mother of two from KwaZulu Natal who suffers from leukaemia. The upbeat mom with a bubbly personality says her only wish is for God to grant her time to raise her children who are 13 and 2 years old and stay with Juliet’s sisters as she fights blood cancer. Due to treatment, Juliet is often away from them for long stretches of time. “Sometimes I spend 30 days in hospital, and we can only talk and connect on video call,” she shares.
To help Juliet beat leukaemia, black donors need to register to become blood stem cell donors. Juliet’s best chance at a second chance at life is likely to be found among black people. Registering to become a blood stem cell donor is free from the point of registration to donation. It involves a non-surgical and non-invasive procedure with no hospital stay. Register now to become a blood stem cell donor https://bit.ly/3LxTQlu.