Eight-year-old Liam Lotz was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on January 18, 2016. Liam needs a bone marrow donor to beat his leukaemia once and for all, and the community of Durbanville has banded together to help him find a matching donor.
Benita, Liam’s mother, thanked everyone who came together to register as bone marrow donors at a drive hosted by the Sunflower Foundation last week. It was hosted at Durbanville Prep’s Tienie Louw Hall on Wednesday, March 4 between 8am to 7pm, and Benita estimates that approximately 1 200 people showed up to support her little boy.
“I think we have approximately 800 people who registered on the day as well,” she added. “We hope there will be more registrations during our next drive on Wednesday, March 11.”
Registering as a bone marrow donor entails filling out a health questionaire. Once all the questions are filled out, a swab is done of the inside of the cheek for a few seconds. This is sent away to the lab for the HLA (DNA) test to be done. When the results come back the donor is listed on the registry until they are a match for a patient.
Liam was three years old when he was first diagnosed with leukaemia. “There are definitive moments in life in that you have a ‘before the event’ stuff and ‘after the event stuff’. On that day our lives changed forever,” Benita said.
The family made their way to Tygerberg Hospital the very next day, as they were barred from going to the Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital. There was also no private children’s oncologist available in the Western Cape at the time.
“Liam had 94% cancer cells in his blood and we had to start chemo that Wednesday. A whirlwind roller coaster ride that would take 40 months of chemo to get him cleared started and there was no way of getting off this ride,” Benita said. “Being in isolation, being sick, being tired, counting pills and keeping track of appointments had become the norm.”
The next drive is on Wednesday, March 11 at Durbanville Prep’s Tienie Louw Hall, and the Lotz family is requesting participation from anyone that would like to support.
Picture: Benita Lotz/Facebook