sunflowerfundImagine being diagnosed with leukemia? For many this is just unthinkable, but each year thousands of South Africans (mostly children and teenagers) have to face this terrifying reality. Fortunately, life-threatening blood disorders such as leukaemia, aplasia, immune deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, and other new indications such as auto-immune disorders can now be treated. The Sunflower Fund was formed in 1999, providing financial support to people affected by these diseases.

Treatment, however, entails a bone marrow/stem cell transplant from a willing donor and although it is sometimes possible for relatives to offer the closest matches, 75% of patients will not have a suitable sibling and will have to start their search for a matching non-related donor.

Where to start?

To facilitate this daunting search, bone marrow registers in different countries hold tissue type information of volunteers who have provided small blood samples for testing and recording. Sadly, the chance of finding a matching donor is just 1 in 100 000!

The Sunflower Fund was inspired by Chris Corlett and Darren Serebro's heroic struggle against leukaemia. It was formed by parents whose children had contracted leukaemia, and in some cases had lost their battle against it. Their aim was to secure financial support in order to increase the number of bone marrow stem cell donors in South Africa. With the odds of finding a donor being 1:100 000, the idea is to expand the registry to at least 100 000.

You can help through MyVillage and by registering on SABMR and give two tubes of your blood. The Fund and thousands of South Africans need your fast response and long-term commitment.

apply-for-card-village

For more information on this Fund, please contact them on 0800 12 1082 or visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za