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Tuesday, 14 May 2024

Helping to give others a better tomorrow

WORKING TOGETHER: Several partners participated in the Bone Marrow Drive at the Bellville Campus. WORKING TOGETHER: Several partners participated in the Bone Marrow Drive at the Bellville Campus.

The Department of Biomedical Sciences recently collaborated with the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) for the annual Bone Marrow Drive at the Bellville Campus.

The SABMR helps to find matching donors for patients needing a bone marrow transplant and who do not have a match within their own families.

Biomedical Sciences lecturer, Rizqa Siebritz, said the Bone Marrow Drive aims to bring awareness of the importance of being a donor in the hope of giving someone else a better tomorrow.

“My students in the Haematology II Biomedical Sciences Department volunteer to assist in spreading awareness of the bone marrow donation process and how easy it is to become a donor.”

Nadia Chalkley, head of donor recruitment for the SABMR, said drives like the one at CPUT were critical “because it helps us really focus in terms of the demographic we want to recruit to our registry”.

“The South African Bone Marrow Registry , even though we have 78 000 current donors, [they] are predominantly Caucasian, and we really need to diversify if we want to service all our patients in South Africa and in Africa. So, not only diversifying the registry in demographic terms, but giving patients a better outcome, really is what this is about. And it's obviously always wonderful working with CPUT, they're so efficient in the implementation of the service-learning agreement that it makes sense for us to partner with CPUT through events like this, through lectures and hopefully more to come this year.”

The Bone Marrow Drive was followed by a virtual online talk by Canadian partner, Sylvia Okonofua, from Black Donors Save Lives. It was titled: “A needle in a haystack: What are the odds it’s going to be you?”

The aim was to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the donor population in order to increase the chances of finding donors for patients in the same genetic pool.

Other partners in the drive included:

  • Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC)
  • Organ Donor Foundation (Save Seven Lives)
  • Vitanova (Tissue Bank)
  • Western Cape Blood Services.
  • CPUT Student counselling
  • CPUT HIV/Aids Unit
Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za