Stem cell transplants are medical procedures performed to replace bone marrow that have been damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy. This is according to Dr Candice Hendricks, a paediatric haematologist who joins this week’s episode of Sisters Without Shame to unpack the common misconceptions of stem cell donation in Mzansi.
“Very few people understand what this means, and what it means to become a donor,” she says.
Hendricks is the founder and creator of the Lusandi Medical Animation Studio (LMAS).
Understanding stem cell donation
A general lack of information and education are major barriers preventing eligible potential donors from registering on the global registry.
To address this, blood stem cell registry and donor recruitment centre, DKMS Africa has partnered with Lusandi Medical Animations Studio to create a three-part educational animation series focusing on a child’s experience with a blood disorder and her journey to find a blood stem cell donation.
Breaking barriers of misconception
Stem cell donations are much more complicated than having a biological mother, father, and siblings.
“That is absolutely not the case in stem cell donations,” says Hendricks. “If you have the same mother and the same father siblings, we call this a full sibling, the chances of that sibling being a match for you are 25 to 30 percent only. This is how complicated the genetic realm is.”
She adds that education is crucial into getting stem cell donors registered. “If you are in a position of need do not assume that your family member will be the person who can automatically help you to get better. It doesn’t work like that. The genetic match is critical to stem cell transplants and prevent the rejection of the cells in the recipient.”
On this episode Hendricks delves into:
- How to become a donor and what it means to be a genetic match for a recipient.
- The medical procedure involved in stem cell donation.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
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