Helping patients with blood-related diseases, DKMS Africa is dedicated to the fight that is helping to help save lives.
Formerly known as The Sunflower Fund, DKMS Africa is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. Every year, thousands of patients around the world are diagnosed with blood cancer and other blood-related diseases — where very often a blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor is their only hope of cure.
With over 10.5 million registered donors, DKMS has succeeded in doing this more than 91,000 times to date by providing blood stem cell donations to those in need. This means DKMS has become the global leader in facilitating unrelated blood stem cell transplants.
In 2019, Kudakwashe Mandinyenya donated his blood stem cells to help save his father’s life. “I would do it again without any hesitation — it’s important to help save a life. I would definitely recommend anyone to register, it’s not a difficult process and as long as it saves a life — it is a deed worth doing,” says Kuda.
Unfortunately, not all patients are as lucky as Kuda’s dad; only 30% of affected patients find a matching donor within their family. For most patients, an unrelated donor is required for successful transplant.
And all funds received are used to cover the direct costs involved in donor recruitment. The chances of a patient finding an unrelated donor match is 1 in 100 000 within their own ethnic group. In South Africa, patients of colour are at a distinct disadvantage due to the low number of registered donors from Black, Coloured and Indian population groups.
Anyone who is healthy and between the ages of 18 and 55 is eligible to register, and it’s a quick, safe and simple process which involves a non-invasive cheek swab.
Once you’ve registered online, a swab kit is sent to you and collected via courier at no charge. If one is a successful match for a patient, the process of donating blood stem cells is as painless as donating blood, much like donating blood platelets.
Donors from all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to join the Registry — helping create a larger pool of prospective donors for patients in need.