Earlier this year, Capetonian Adele Gosse discovered that her 13-year-old son Luca has leukaemia. Since then, Adele’s been doing all she can to find a stem cell donor for her son. Additionally, the mother of two has started petitioning government to subsidise the R2 000 registration and test fee required to become a donor so more people will be willing to step forward.She is searching desperately for a stem cell
Many South Africans with diseases such as leukaemia and bone marrow failure reach a stage where their only chance of survival is a transplant from a healthy donor. ‘In about 30% of cases, a fully matched donor can be found in the patient’s own family.’ says Adele. ‘For the other 70% of patients, their only hope is to find a matched unrelated donor identified by the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).’
Two test tubes of blood is all that’s needed but the tissue typing of each sample costs R2 000 per test. Once samples have been analysed, the donor’s genetic information is stored on the SABMR database until he or she turns 60.
Adele has been working closely with The Sunflower Fund, the South African non-profit organisation dedicated to creating awareness, education and facilitation of the SABMR process. ‘Increasing the number of donors listed on the national database offers hope to hundreds of South Africans with blood diseases, such as leukaemia, who have reached the point where their only chance of survival is a stem cell transplant,’ adds Adele.
Her petition is a means to facilitate the increase of stem cell donors so that more patients might have the chance of recovery. ‘My son and many other children innocently become sufferers of leukaemia and should be given the chance to a full and long life. Together we can make a difference!’
Help Adele and others like her by signing the petition on change.org.
Photography Courtesy image