Join the fight against leukaemia and blood diseases

Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation and Leukaemia Awareness Month is commemorated annually from August 15 to October 15.

With very little focus and fanfare around this very important topic, The Sunflower Fund is calling out the hero in all South Africans.

The fight against leukaemia and other blood diseases, the organisation says, is all about you, your family, friends, peers and the community.

The public will again be able to buy a TOPE (Tube of Hope) to celebrate Sunflower Day, on September 21, and make a difference to patients needing a blood stem cell transplant.

A tope is an accessory that can be worn as a headband, mask, scarf, cap or armband. Topes will be available for R30 each at Pick * Pay stores across the country, selected independent pharmacies or online at Zando during August and September.

“We are very excited about this year’s design, which comes in six vibrant colours, with an introduction of a grey option and inspired by a message of hope,” said Alana James, CEO at The Sunflower Fund.

“We hope to see everyone wearing their tope on Sunflower Day in support of our patients and survivors and to raise awareness about the very important and urgent topic of blood stem cell donation.”

The theme of this year’s campaign is “There is a hero in all of us”. The campaign aims to draw people out of slacktivism and get them mobilised and engaged around a simple action.

The Sunflower Fund says just choosing to do something for someone else and expecting nothing in return brings out the hero in all of us.

“To see our Topes being worn with pride is not just an honour for us, but a salute to our survivors, our fighters and our memories of loved ones; it is a show of support, a statement of Hope,” said Ms James.

The Sunflower Fund will again be running its schools competition.

“Youngsters across South Africa are able to play their part by helping us to raise funds and awareness about the need to recruit donors for stem cell donation” added Ms James.

“The support from our partners, patients and communities is truly inspiring, but, most importantly, it also serves as a reminder to the nation of one of our very critical goals: to ensure that South Africa has an ethnically diverse source of potential blood stem cell donors, who are committed to help save lives.”

Blood diseases are no respecter of age, gender or race and the patients impacted cover a broad age spectrum and all race groups.

All monies raised go towards recruiting donors to The Sunflower Fund’s blood stem cell registry.

“We once again, aim to sell
200 000 topes and encourage both our loyal and new supporters to rally together and get on board to help us reach our goal,” Ms James said.

Visit to make a cash donation to aid the fund-raising efforts for the tissue-typing test costs and the patient support fund or for more information or to register contact The Sunflower Fund toll free at 0800 12 10 82.

The Sunflower Fund pays for the cost of the tissue-type testing. This is fundamental to saving the lives of South Africans who need a stem cell transplant.

The chance of finding a matching donor is 1 in 100 000 – and as ethnic origin plays a significant role in the search for a donor, South Africa’s rainbow nation is at a distinct disadvantage, requiring a large pool of prospective donors.