GIVE THREE-YEAR-OLD KETHAN THE GIFT OF LIFE THIS FESTIVE SEASON
Due to life-threatening blood diseases, such as leukaemia, many families will not have the privilege of having their loved ones home these holidays as patients undergo chemotherapy in hospital, while awaiting a stem cell transplant. One such patient is three-year old, Kethan Govender from KwaZulu-Natal.
The toddler’s recent leukaemia diagnosis came as a shock to his parents, but Kersan (father) and Sheena (mother) remain hopeful and have turned their focus towards raising awareness and funds, through the SA Bone Marrow Registry’s (SABMR) Give a Little, Save a Life campaign – not only for Kethan, but for many other children and patients like him.
Kersan says the family’s only wish is for their little boy to be healthy again.
“Kethan is currently undergoing chemotherapy and will continue with treatment for the next few months, after which he will need a stem cell transplant. Even though he is still young, Kethan has inspired us through his display of strength and resilience, which gives us hope.
“We’d like to appeal to the public to sign up as donors and support the SABMR’s Give a Little, Save a Life fundraising campaign, not only for Kethan, but for other children and patients too that rely on donors to give them a second chance at life. There really is no greater gift to give than the gift of life.”
Head of Sustainability and National Operations for the SABMR, Kamiel Singh, while they’re eternally grateful for those who have signed up as donors, a bigger donor pool is needed to help Kethan, especially from those of Indian descent.
“We also need more funds to help cover donor recruitment, which is costly. For example, each tissue typing kit costs R1 500 per donor – a cost which we absorb. There are many other costs which we incur as to not burden donors or patients. It is for this reason that we ask South Africans to get behind our Give a Little, Save a Life fundraising campaign so we can recruit as many donors as possible in order to give every patient in need, the second chance they deserve.”
In addition to donor recruitment, the SABMR also financially assists patients who are not able to cover other costs associated with the transplant through its Patient Assistance Programme. Non-profit organisations are still recovering from the financial effects of the pandemic and while the SABMR has managed to continue the lifesaving work it does, it relies heavily on donations from corporates and the public.
Singer, songwriter, Zolani Mahola, also known as, “The One who Sings”, will be backing the campaign this festive season through a series of awareness posts on social media to boost donations.
Mahola says as a long-time SABMR ambassador, the cause remains close to her heart.
“It is heart-wrenching to think what a family must go through when their loved one is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Nothing prepares you for the shock and devastation and in many cases, it is young children who are affected. Help me spread the word this festive season to bring hope and life to everyone in need of a stem cell transplant.”
To donate to this campaign visit: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/kethan-govender