Nishal Seetharam was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) on 25th July 2011 at the age of 29 after experiencing flu-like symptoms, a rash, severe pain in his side and bleeding gums.
He went into remission after two stages of chemotherapy but has unfortunately relapsed with the cancer returning to his spine and bone marrow.
His family was in total shock and disarray when he was diagnosed, especially since he was a vibrant, young and super fit person who was always conscious of his diet. His lifestyle has taken a complete turnaround as the family has rallied to his side with their complete moral support, especially his wife and two year old daughter.
Nishal desperately needs to find a bone marrow stem cell donor match in order to survive and the chances of finding a donor match are 1:100 000 within your ethnic group. Both his siblings have been tested and neither of them are a match for him.
The Sunflower Fund is the only organisation that educates and recruits potential bone marrow stem cell donors. It only takes two test tubes of blood to become a donor and if you are a successful match, the process to donate bone marrow stem cells is no more invasive than donating blood where you are linked to a blood separating machine for four to six hours.
“It costs R1000 to tissue type each blood sample before the results can be included on the South African Bone Marrow Registry which is why The Sunflower Fund does extensive fundraising. A contribution towards this tissue typing cost, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated”, explains Stephanie Berry, PR Manager for The Sunflower Fund in KwaZulu Natal.
Potential bone marrow stem cell donors need to remember that they are joining the Registry for any patient diagnosed with leukaemia. It is worse for a patient and their family to learn that someone on the registry was a possible match but is no longer prepared to go through with the process.
“We have our full faith in God and we believe that God has given us this but, He also has given us strength to deal with my illness”, says Nishal who also urgently appeals to the public to become bone marrow stem cell donors to help people like himself and others who require this life-saving procedure.
Nishal sadly passed away on the 14th of October. He will be greatly missed.