Every 72 minutes in South Africa, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or a blood disorder, and
often a blood stem cell transplant is their only chance at living out the rest of their life and there is
currently only a 1 in 100 000 chance of patients finding a donor and reaching transplant. For Black
patients such as 15-year-old Noshile, the chances of finding a match and surviving blood cancer are
19% because of the underrepresentation of Black, Coloured, Indian and Asian donors on the global
Born in Alexandra, Johannesburg, she found a new family through a closed adoption at the age of 2.
One of the few details known from her closed adoption is that she’s of possible South African or
Zimbabwean heritage. Without a biological family, she’s now dependent on the generosity of a donor.
While blood cancers and blood disorders are life-threatening patients do not need to succumb to
these illnesses. In many instances, a blood stem cell transplant is the only chance of a cure. This is
why there is an urgent need for everyone, especially the Black community to get involved and register
as blood stem cell donors so patients can reach transplant and win the battle against blood cancer
like Mackenzie Friedman.
At four months old, Mackenzie Friedman (fondly known as Mighty Mack) was diagnosed with Acute
Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in May 2021. Like many patients, Mighty Mack needed an urgent stem cell
transplant to survive and on her 1st birthday, she found her match. She received her transplant in early
January 2022 and was declared cancer-free. Her journey serves as a beacon of hope for many blood
Registering as a blood stem cell donor is a free and voluntary process. Donating blood stem cells is a
non-surgical and non-invasive procedure. If you are between the ages of 18 to 55, and in good health,
save a life and be part of the DKMS- Africa donor search.
Only 0,04% of the South African population are registered as blood stem cell donors, and so we are
calling on you to join an Instagram Live with Olwethu Leshabane on Wednesday, 5 October 2022 at 6
pm. She’ll be in discussion with Noshile and Might Mack’s families so you can learn more and
understand what you can do to help fight blood cancer.