What is now known as DKMS Africa aims to promote blood stem cell donation, educate the masses about blood disorders, and grow an international registry of donors who are reflective of the diversity and ethnic background of the world to support anyone in need of a life-saving transplant.
The NGO operates in seven countries across five continents and plans to grow. According to research, a South African is diagnosed with leukaemia every 72 minutes, which is one of the driving forces for the initiative to expand the donor registry.
For those with blood diseases, their greatest hope of recovery is a blood stem cell donation from a compatible donor. The price is higher because transplants cost between R1 million and R1.5m, claims Nabiella de Beer, communications manager at DKMS Africa.
Hosting the DKMS “Africa United by Hope Through Art: Exhibit and Auction” was the former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss. She said something that resonated with a lot of people in the room: “Life is something we can’t take for granted, sometimes, a smile is all that’s needed.”
A blood cancer diagnosis often marks the beginning of a race against time, a blood cancer diagnosis can be a shock. It is often the only chance for patients to survive that they can find a matching blood stem cell donor as soon as possible.
We have all experienced the devastating effects of the pandemic; some people lost their jobs, and others lost loved ones. It might be challenging for people to donate their time or money to take part in activities that bring attention to worthy causes, like stem cell donation that few people are aware of. Helping those in the community who are in need, is one of life’s greatest joys.
Gracing the art exhibition was Elke Neujahr Global CEO of the DKMS Group and among other dignitaries in attendance was Shudufhadzo Musida, former Miss South Africa 2020.
Lesego Mahape foster sister of Ricky Lee Hammond, a patient of DKMS who was diagnosed with Megaloblastic anaemia a form of macrocytic anaemia, a blood disorder that happens when your bone marrow produces stem cells that make abnormally large red blood cells.
Strauss said: “While we understand that our goal tonight is to do some serious bidding on the incredible collectable art pieces, they will not only serve as conversation starters but in fact buy happiness and hope to contribute to something really important and help someone who I’ve never met on the other side of the world.”
The former Miss South Africa took home “Give the youth the light and let them lead the way”, by the artist who goes by Skubalisto, costing her R11 500 which is going to the DKMS donor fund.
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