When life can’t wait. Looking for the perfect match – It’s in the blood
For Reza Price and his family, every day is a precious gift as they wait for a bone marrow donor who could bring him new life.
In the Price home, there is a sense of underlying calm – not in a negative sense, but a sense that you know that Zeenat has worked hard, and put a lot of effort into creating an environment where calm is always present, despite ever-increasing odds building against her eldest son, Reza.
Over two years ago, this family had their world turned upside down, when Reza was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia – one week after his 11th birthday, in September 2008. On their way home in the car after a shopping expedition, Reza’s sister noticed him slumped over in the back seat, and thinking he was fooling with her, poked him in the ribs. This evoked no response from Reza, and he was rushed to hospital. Tests conducted showed Reza’s platelet count to be dangerously low – one of the symptoms of Aplastic Anaemia; a rare condition where the body does not produce sufficient new blood cells to replenish existing blood cells. In Reza’s case, the situation has now become so severe, that he is completely reliant on blood transfusions, which he has to have at least twice a week.
When you meet Reza, you meet a young man whose character far belies his 13 years. He says he really misses not being able to enjoy a good game of cricket or soccer with his friends, and because of his illness, he has had to stay away from parties and gatherings. He can’t risk compromising his immune system and get infection in any way. He also has to be extremely careful of physical contact because of his low platelet count.
For people who are diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, one of the potential answers is to have a bone marrow transplant – however, the bone marrow donor must be of a match that is near perfect. Both Reza’s siblings, as well as his parents and most of his close relatives have been tested, but unfortunately none of them are a match for Reza.
The Sunflower Fund recruits potential bone marrow stem cell donors to help patients like Reza and many others searching for a life saving match. By phoning the toll free number 0800 12 10 82 or by visiting the website – www.sunflowerfund.org.za – interested people can be informed of the process of becoming a donor. Your joining the South African Bone Marrow Registry could be someone’s chance of life.