If you had the opportunity to save someone’s life, would you do it?
Of course you would. Altruism is part of our DNA.
Stop what you are doing and watch the short video below first.
To sign up to become a donor with the South African Bone Marrow Registry was previously only open to 18 to 45 year old.
Now you can sign up to save a life at the age of 16! Click here to sign up.
Why are young donors needed?
Using younger donors is directly related to higher patient survival, more so than any other donor factor like gender or race. Giving patients the youngest stem cells possible means that those stem cells still have a long lifespan ahead of them when the patient receives them. This is especially true when dealing with young child patients.
Who needs a bone marrow transplant?
For a lot of people suffering from blood-related diseases such as leukaemia, a bone marrow transplant is the only chance of survival. Only 30% of patients can find a match within their own family, the other 70% must look elsewhere. That is where the SABMR comes in. They are tasked with finding life-saving matches for patients, and while the search starts local, it expands beyond South Africa’s borders. The SABMR works closely with registries in 76 countries to increase the chances of finding a match.
Unfortunately, not everyone finds a match; the chance to find a match is just 1 in 100 000.
Does it hurt?
Most transplants happening in South Africa is much like donating blood. It is called peripheral blood stem cell collection.
And it works like this: through peripheral blood stem cell collection blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a cell separation machine that will collect blood cells. The remaining blood is then returned to you through a needle in the other arm.
It is usually about a 6-hour process.
No drilling into your bones.
And side effects? Maybe you will experience fatigue for two to three days after the procedure.
How to sign up to become a bone marrow donor
Signing up is simple. You complete a form online (click here). A buccal swab test kit is sent to you (cheek swab) and then you go onto the registry. You might be matched with a patient within months, you might be matched 10 years later, you might never match with a patient.
If you want to find out more about becoming a bone marrow donor, visit www.sabmr.co.za. There are of course certain requirements if you want to sign up, you need to be in good health and between 18 and 45 (click here for full list).
And lastly, as a donor, there are NO costs involved for you when signing up or donating stem cells. All donor-related costs are covered by the SABMR. The SABMR is a non-profit organisation and relies heavily on donations to save more lives.