Cape Town – Country Duty activist Tumi Sole has partnered with DKMS Africa in a quest to urge men to become blood stem cell donors.
The initiative is motivated by the latest statistics by the non-profit org DKMS Africa, which show a South African is diagnosed with leukemia every 72 minutes.
The DKMS Africa, which is committed to giving blood cancer patients a second chance, says black, coloured, Indian, and Asian patients only have a 19% chance of finding their donor match and reaching transplant because of the ethnic under-representation on the global registry.
White patients have a 75% chance of finding a match.
According to South African Bone Marrow Registry hundreds of South Africans blood related diseases such as leukaemia, aplasia as well immune deficiencies and inborn areas of metabolism reach the point where the is only chance of survival is a blood stem cell transplant.
Speaking to CapeTalk, Sole said that statistics revealed that women between the ages of 17 and 34 were almost twice as likely to become donors than men in the same age in the country.
“More importantly, young men make up most long-term blood donors as they’re likely to have more iron which means that they can donate more regularly than women and to recruit men to register as donors I believe that it is vital to raise awareness around the blood stem cell donation process.
“Most men fear needles so educating them against various myths associated with blood donations may change the narrative.
“I also urge celebrity figures that these men identify with, to be in the forefront of such important initiatives,” he said.
Sole said anyone who was in good health and is between the ages of 18 and 55 is eligible to register as a potential donor.
“We urge all South African men to register to become stem cell donors and to continue this conversation with their peers. People living with blood cancers and disorders need you, and we need you, before it’s too late,” he said.
He believes that no patient should die because there is no matching donor for them.