Wear a TOPE, support Sunflower Day
South Africans have been urged to support Sunflower Day on September 17, by wearing their Tubes of Hope (TOPEs).
Stephanie Saville | News24
This is to inspire hope in people who suffer from blood disorders and raise awareness around much-needed blood stem cell transplants.
“Often, the only hope for a cure is a blood stem cell transplantation. Knowing that there are people out there who are willing to donate their stem cells is enormously encouraging for sufferers and their families in the face of often overwhelming challenges,”
Alana James, DKMS Africa Country executive director
Funds raised from the sale of the versatile TOPE — the headband, mask, scarf, cap or armband — go towards helping recruit blood stem cell (bone marrow) donors, as well as towards a patient support fund, which helps patients who need financial assistance in getting a transplant.
DKMS Africa (formerly known as the Sunflower Fund) Country executive director, Alana James, said Sunflower Day has always been about celebrating and providing hope for blood disorder sufferers.
“Often, the only hope for a cure is a blood stem cell transplantation. Knowing that there are people out there who are willing to donate their stem cells is enormously encouraging for sufferers and their families in the face of often overwhelming challenges,” she said.
James said there are many misconceptions around stem cell transplants and that Sunflower Day is also about addressing these misconceptions and driving conversations around how easy it is to donate blood stem cells.
She acknowledged the efforts of DKMS partners, paying special tribute to Pick n Pay, where Andre Nel, head of sustainability at Pick n Pay, said that since 2003, they have proudly carried the Sunflower Day campaign TOPE in their stores countrywide to support the work done by DKMS Africa.
Registering to donate blood stem cells is painless. It involves three DNA swabs collected from the inside of the mouth and cheeks, and can be done from the comfort of a potential donor’s home.
If a candidate is a match, they will be contacted to donate. The procedure is non-invasive and painless and does not require an operation, anaesthetic or incision.
TOPES are available at Pick n Pay, selected ICPA pharmacies and online at Zando for only R30. They can be worn in a multitude of ways on September 17. If you are interested in becoming a donor, are between the ages of 18 to 55 and in general good health, please register today. For more information and to register, visit dkms-africa.org, or call 0800 12 10 82.