Organisations that we have formal / informal relationships with:
SABMR – South African Bone Marrow Registry
SABMR Celebrates 25 years!
The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) was established in 1991 to provide compatible bone marrow (stem cell) donors for South African patients with life-threatening blood disorders. Based at Groote Schuur Hospital, the SABMR is the only stem cell donor registry in Africa supporting an active unrelated donor transplant programme. One of the highlights of their 25th anniversary year has been achieving WMDA Certification.
The SABMR is a full participant in the global initiative to provide stem cells for patients in need of bone marrow transplantation, but who do not have a suitable family donor. As one of our patients wrote “Transplantation is much more than a physical miracle. It is a bonding of humanity that has altered and enhanced my life in so many ways.”
The first unrelated stem cell donor transplant in South Africa took place in 1997. Subsequently, SABMR has been instrumental in identifying stem cell donors for hundreds of patients. These donors have come from all continents and include bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cells and cord blood as the source of the stem cells.
Over the years, more than 100 donors from the SABMR have been called on to donate stem cells. The majority of these donations were for patients treated in South Africa, but SABMR donors have also provided stem cells for some international patients. The SABMR donor database has benefitted from the positive response of The Sunflower Fund, not only by increasing the number of donors listed, but also the quality of the HLA typing – which is absolutely necessary for matching potential donors to patients.
Dr Charlotte Ingram, Medical Director of the SABMR, says “The courage of the patients who need this treatment, and the commitment of the donors who provide this life-saving gift are a constant inspiration to the SABMR staff”.
SANBS – South African National Blood Service
The mission of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is to supply safe and sufficient blood to the patients of South Africa. SANBS works closely with The Sunflower Fund as the two associations share the same objective – saving lives.
In most cases, SANBS and The Sunflower Fund work with the same patients. Most patients who are awaiting a stem cell transplant are also regular blood recipients. There have been many projects where the associations have worked together for a specific community. In these instances, a blood drive is held and an additional sample is taken from donors who agree to be registered as a stem cell donor. These joint projects are advertised through the local media and the response is always excellent, with both new blood donors and new stem cell donors signing up.
When there is a successful outcome for the patient, the organisations share the joy and they share the sorrow when a match is not found in time. During that time of waiting, SANBS ensures that the patient has best possible care through the supply of red cells and platelets. These products are of particular importance during a patient’s chemotherapy period.
WPBTS – Western Province Blood Transfusion Service
Blood donors are committed to saving lives. It has therefore always been very easy for the WP Blood Transfusion Service to support and assist The Sunflower Fund by giving this organisation an opportunity to meet our donors and convince them to register as stem cell donors.
The missions of the two organisations are very similar, since leukaemia sufferers and stem cell transplant patients are users of multiple blood transfusions.
The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service is a non-profit, independent organisation operating throughout the Western Cape. They work without prejudice to supply safe blood and blood products to all communities in the region, from Cape Town all the way up to George.
NHLS – National Health Laboratory Service
NHLS and SANBS do all the analyzing and testing of all our blood samples and we pay them for this service.
The SANBS also act as donor collection points for us throughout KZN, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West Province.
A collaboration of hope was formed in 2000 when PathCare joined forces with The Sunflower Fund to encourage and recruit substantial numbers of stem cell donors.
Since then thousands of people have been tested and are listed on the SABMR – many of them have joined through PathCare via its depots throughout South Africa.
However, their partnership hasn’t just been all about the serious business of taking blood samples and identifying donors to save the lives of sufferers of chronic blood conditions like leukaemia. They’ve had a lot of fun along the way; participating in donor drives on radio, in schools and at shopping malls.
PathCare has also paid for many of their employees to join the South African Bone Marrow Registry and also show their support by participating in the national campaign annually.