16 September – Your opportunity to become a stem cell donor!

The slogan of The Sunflower Fund is “Share a Little, Save a Life”, and I would like to give you an opportunity on 16 September 2015 to make a difference in the life of someone suffering from leukaemia or other life-threatening blood disorders.

Every year thousands of South Africans are diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. For those unable to stay in remission with chemotherapy alone, a bone marrow stem cell transplant becomes a life-saving treatment option, but only if they can find a perfect donor match.

The Sunflower Fund aims to give those diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders the chance of life, irrespective of their race and financial circumstances.

I will be running 250km from 4-10 October 2015 through the Atacama Desert in Chile to generate support and awareness for the work of The Sunflower Fund in South Africa.

The purpose of my association with The Sunflower Fund – before, during and after my run in Chile – is three-fold:

  • Raise awareness about leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders;
  • Raise awareness about the objectives and activities of The Sunflower Fund in response to the above;
  • Encourage more South Africans to become bone marrow stem cell donors.

One of my key activities before departing for Chile is to give anyone living in or around Johannesburg an opportunity to become a potential stem cell donor.

All you need to do is follow two simple steps:

  1. Read the Donor information and then phone The Sunflower Fund Toll Free Number, 0800 12 10 82 (weekdays, 08h30 – 16h30), by Friday, 11 September 2015, to complete the pre-registration process. Someone will check if you meet the criteria to become a donor (e.g. you have to be younger than 45 years of age), and process your Sunflower / SABMR Registration Form.
  1. Have a normal blood test (two test tubes) on Wednesday, 16 September 2016 (09h00-15h00), at The Sunflower Fund’s office in the Brightwater Commons in Randburg.

Both processes will only take a few minutes to complete.

But you have to complete the pre-registration process by Friday, 11 September 2015, in order for The Sunflower Fund to cover the full cost of your blood test on the 16th. 

Please use the “Atacama Project” as your reference when you call.

What happens thereafter?

Your blood sample will be analysed (called “tissue typing”) and put on the national database – South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR). You will only be called back to donate bone marrow stem cells, which is similar to donating blood or platelets, if they are ever a perfect match for a patient.

The odds of being a match are about 1: 100 000 which is why The Sunflower Fund needs your help to mobilise as many donors as possible.

Please spread the word, bring your friends and family, and join us on 16 September 2015!

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I’m excited about supporting The Sunflower Fund over the next few weeks, and invite you to join me on this journey.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, and via The Sunflower Fund’s various online platforms.

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About David Barnard

This blog site covers my runs through the deserts of the world in support of social causes and campaigns dedicated to development issues in Africa. My next run is the 250km Big Red Run in Australia from 24-29 June 2017 in support of the Hippo Water Roller.
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