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VUT bone marrow drive a success

By Qhawekazi Memani.

Another successful bone marrow/stem cell donor awareness concert and blood drive were hosted by the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Health Sciences Department, in collaboration with the Sunflower Foundation, on 22 September, at the amphitheatre.

The event followed a successful launch, in 2016, where a placement of 25 new donors onto the South African Bone Marrow Registry was achieved. It is hoped to match these to patients suffering from leukaemia and other life-threatening, blood-related diseases. The target for this year is a 100 donors.

According to the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), every year, hundreds of South African children and adults reach a stage where their only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant from a healthy donor. In about 30% of cases, a fully matched donor can be found in the patient's own family.

The donation procedure is minor, with little discomfort, but it can make a major difference to the life of a patient.

With the help of the 40 student volunteers who were selected to be peer educators, people from the Sunflower Foundation and the South African National Blood Services, a large number of students attended the event.

Christa van Wyk; Principal Lecturer: Institute of Chemical and Biotechnology, explained that the purpose of the event was to raise donation awareness; spreading the idea that giving bone marrow can save lives could encourage many others to become donors.

A great line-up of entertainment by StiloMagodile, Masedi, ShoMadjozi and the Banger Boys was enjoyed by the students.

"The event was a success and we will soon announce if the target was achieved. The Department aims to make this event an annual one," said Joseph Chalwe; lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences.

Inqaba Corporate Biotec Services helped to sponsor the event.