Hi I’m just here quickly to tell you that The Sunflower Fund’s National Bandana Day is on 12 October. What is Sunflower Fund? Clue: It has nothing to do with Sunflowers: The Sunflower Fund was formed in 1999 by parents whose children had contracted leukemia, and in some cases had lost their battle against it. Leukemia is a group of cancers that start in the bone marrow and results in high volumes of abnormal white blood cells. Symptoms include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling very tired and an increased risk of infections. Treatment is chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplants. Doesn’t sound very great, does it? Leukemia is the most common cancer amongst children. In 2012 leukemia developed in 352,000 people globally and caused 265,000 deaths. Sometimes all that these kids need is some bone marrow. Bone marrow that you have laying around and don’t really need. We’re all capable of saving lives. Incredible. Personally, I am registered as a donor on the Sunflower Fund and have been for a few years.
Buy a bandana and help save an actual life. They’re super cute and fun and cost R25 at Pick n Pay! Wear them on yourself, your dog, your cat (probably not though) and buy them for your whole office (be a nice and charitable boss). You better be wearing yours on 12 October and showing everyone that you’re a real nice person.
While the funds from these bandanas will make an incredible difference – there is a much more pressing issue and we need to talk about it. They really, really (really) need new donors – especially those from Black, Coloured and Indian ethnic origin. When a patient is searching for a match, they are looking for a “genetic twin” – someone who carries the same genetic markers as their own and this will be unique to their particular race. So it is almost impossible for an Indian person to match a White person, a Black person cannot match an Asian person and so on. Currently, only about 20% of their registry is made up of people of colour which is not very PC and doesn’t represent our population demographics at all.
If you are ever found to be a match for a patient in the future, donating your bone marrow stem cells is much easier and less intrusive today. It is much like donating blood or platelets. Read the FAQ on the process here.
The Sunflower Fund urges South African’s to not only buy their bandanas from Pick n Pay, but to also take the time to register as a potential donor to hopefully save someone’s life and give patients suffering from life threatening blood disorders – a Future . You never know, you could be the match that a patient has been desperately searching for.
Look out for the new TVC which is flighting on SABC, eTV, eNCA, DStv, Supersport and Cinemark. It’s ridiculously cute (and equally heart breaking).