Before joining the SABMR I was well aware of the incredible work that it did helping to save the lives of young children and adults. My family has had a long association with the Registry. My husband has been the Registry’s Honorary Auditor for many years and serves on the board. When I heard the Registry was looking for extra help, I jumped at the chance to join the amazing team!
What does your position as Donor Welfare Officer involve?
“My position is dedicated exclusively to supporting bone marrow donors that have been identified by the SABMR as suitable matches for patients requiring a transplant”.
Once a potential donor has been identified by the SABMR, I am part of the team that makes first contact with the donor. I am responsible for calling the potential donor to break the news to them and to explain the implications of the procedure, inquiring about their current health and their ability and willingness to proceed for further testing. Donors have many questions and concerns, all of which I respond to while at the same time providing donors with the emotional support that they need once having decided to take on this enormous commitment. When donors are scheduled to have their stem cells harvested, I visit them at the hospital and stay with them throughout the procedure, (usually 6 hours), making sure they are comfortable and at ease. The SABMR works with 3 main health facilities for harvesting stem cells one of which is in Gauteng. Since the SABMR is based in Cape Town, this means that I frequently travel to Johannesburg providing support to donors that reside in the area. I also follow-up with donors for 5 years after their stem cell donation, making sure that they attend their annual medical checkups and are in good health.
What do you love about the work that you do?
Everyday I meet the most selfless human beings willing to help save the lives of people that they have never met. Spending time supporting donors during the harvesting procedure also gives me time to learn more about each donor and their families – I am always inspired and amazed by their humanity and generosity of spirit.