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Brenda’s Story
9th August 2015
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Why I became a donor
9th August 2015
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Be the Match

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ann-nossekI cannot describe how I feel at the moment: elated, fear, apprehension, hope?

A patient needs a bone marrow stem cell transplant, and I am a match for that person.  I don’t know that person, and I never will.

In 2003, I added my name to the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR). At the time, The Sunflower Fund was appealing to the public to assist them by becoming bone marrow stem cell donors to save the lives of patients suffering from leukaemia and other life threatening blood disorders.

Unfortunately the chances of finding a match from someone, who is unrelated to the patient, are very slim, 1:100 000.

In 2010, I was contacted by the SABMR and asked to go for further blood tests. I was so surprised, but not very confident that I would be a match for someone. After many more tests, I was told that I was the one! I was found to be a match for a patient who needed a miracle.  It took quite some time to sink in!

There were so many thoughts going through my mind.

Is it really me?
Will it be painful?
Will I feel ill?
Who is the person?
How will I feel if that person dies?

I was wondering how my family would feel about it, as at that stage I had not shared the experience with many people. I began reading a lot more about what can be expected and spoken to a few more people. Can I go through with this?  YES I CAN. I have given my commitment and will go ahead with the stem cell donation.
The recipient was a young patient from Pretoria. This was a miracle for the family who were desperate to find a donor for their loved one and they knew that without a lifesaving donor the odds for survival were slim.

3 weeks later:
It’s done! The harvest of stem cells itself took 2 days and there was very little discomfort. The staff at SABMR and the UCT private academic hospital were fantastic. My bone marrow stem cells were flown to Pretoria that same evening to be transplanted into the patient. Afterwards, I felt very emotional and so elated, to think that I was the only 1 to be the match!  I felt as if I was the chosen one! All I had to do was share a little and I saved a life!

If I had the opportunity, I would certainly do it again.

The Sunflower Fund educates and recruits bone marrow stem cell donors onto the SABMR, representative of all ethnic groups, in order to save the lives of patients suffering from leukaemia and other life threatening blood disorders. All it takes to register to become a bone marrow stem cell donor is a call to The Sunflower Fund toll free number 0800 12 10 82 and 2 test tubes of blood.

Help The Sunflower Fund, build a state asset that will protect future generations and give hope to current patients who need a lifesaving donor and to be given the opportunity to a longer and healthier life. Wouldn’t you like to know that if someday someone close to you were diagnosed with leukaemia that there was a matching donor to save their life?

Share a Little, Save a Life.