Sunflower Day is all about rallying support for individuals diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases and cancers such as leukaemia.
Many such children are treated at the Haematology-Oncology unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.
This world renowned, operates 16 clinics a month, with more than 4800 clinic visits and 1200 admissions a year and offers various services to these brave young patients and their families. The unit, like the rest of the hospital, is strongly focused on placing patient and family care at the forefront.
There are two main services in this unit, namely haematology – which sees rare and complex diseases such as congenital bleeding disorders, different anaemias and haematologic conditions associated with systemic diseases – and oncology which sees all childhood cancers including leukaemias, brain tumours, other solid tumours and lymphomas.
Every year, hundreds of South Africans with blood diseases such as leukaemia and bone marrow failure reach a stage where their only chance of survival is receiving a bone marrow stem cell transplant from a healthy donor.
The Sunflower Fund aims at growing a healthy, effective, ethnically diverse bone-marrow registry for the benefit of these patients.
Prof Alan Davidson, Head of Haematology and Oncology at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, is adamant that we need to expand the diversity of bone-marrow donors. “We would like to see a more ethnically diverse donor group to increase the chances of finding donors for our patients. If you are able to register on the national bone marrow registry, please do so. You could be saving one of our young patients’ lives.”
For more information on Sunflower Day, or to become a donor, please visit the Sunflower Fund website at www.sunflowerfund.org.za