What happens when someone who is registered is found to be a match?
According to the SABMR’s book, An Uncommon Gift, once a match is found, the recipient is admitted to hospital for chemotherapy to prepare for the stem cells 10 days before the transplant.
For five days before the transplant, the donor receives daily injections of Neupogen — a synthetic form of natural-occurring protein that stimulates the bone marrow to produce extra stem cells.
One day before the transplant, the donor is admitted to hospital, accompanied by an SAMBR member. The collection of stem cells takes about six hours, sometimes on two consecutive days. The donor is linked to a machine with an intravenous blood line and stem cells are filtered out of the donor’s blood. The transplant is then performed at one of five transplant centres in South Africa.
Once a donor is found to be a match, that donor is taken off the database to reserve them for such a time that their recipient is in need of another transplant, to prevent the conflict of that donor having to donate to two recipients.