The Sunflower Fund has put out a nationwide call for potential stem cell donors to come forward, to save the life of 6-year-old Lymphoblastic Leukemia patient Azile Ngubane.
Azile turned 6 on 5 September, but her celebrations were clouded by concerns that a suitable donor may not be found in time.
In 2019 the Pietermaritzburg resident started having pain in her joints and losing weight, and was soon diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“This was something that was very foreign to us, as we never believed that children could suffer from cancer. The whole family was shattered by the diagnosis,” said her mother Busiswa.
“We have to be strong and supportive of our daughter.”
Every 27 seconds, someone worldwide is diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder and a stem cell transplant from a matching donor is often the only hope of a cure for many patients.
Donor matches are based on genetics and are much more complex than just matching blood types.
There is a 1 in 100 000 chance of finding a match, with only a 25% chance that a sibling could be a match.
If this match is impossible, a matching donor needs to be drawn from the worldwide registry.
Azile is one of the patients that needs a stem cell transplant, and unfortunately does not have any siblings.
Her treating specialist has requested a search for a donor but has so far been unsuccessful.
Patients of colour are at a distinct disadvantage due to the low number of registered donors from black, coloured and Indian population groups in the global donor database.
In order to give patients like Azile the best chance at life, it is vital to grow an ethnically diverse registry of donors in South Africa.
“We plead with all South Africans who are eligible to come forward and become blood stem cell donors, not only to help our child but to help other children that are diagnosed with life threatening diseases as well,” said Busiswa.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 55 years, with a BMI of less than 40 and a consistent body weight of over 50kg you could be eligible to become a stem cell donor.
For more information or to register visit sunflowerfund.org or call 0800 12 10 82.
You could be the perfect match Azile is searching for.