Baby Mahi has a 1 in 400,000 chance of finding a bone marrow match so her family and the South African Bone Marrow Registry are raising awareness for her case.
Durban, South Africa (12 October 2021) – The Jithoo family from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, heard the devastating news that no parent ever wants to hear: their 8-month-old baby girl, Mahi, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a very rare form of cancer.
Mahi has spent the last 4 months in hospital, where she has been receiving several rounds of chemotherapy to prepare her for a bone marrow stem cell transplant. Her story is like many babies her age, the best course of action is to blast the cancer through several rounds of chemo while campaigning to find a perfect bone marrow donor. While the family is actively campaigning to find a donor, no donor match has been found, yet!
For Mahi and many children like her, they have to rely on the selflessness of a stranger to donate stem cells, as only 30% of patients are lucky enough to find a match within their immediate family.
The remaining 70% often have to look internationally if a local donor is not found. The odds of finding a donor match is 1 in 100 000 but is drastically reduced to 1 in 400 000 for patients of colour. Sadly, this is a problem that registries face globally.
It is for this reason the Jithoo family has decided to join hands with the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) in an effort to help recruit more donors, particularly donors of colour; raise much-needed funds to procure additional buccal swab kits (testing kits), and cover the costs of donors’ medical tests in the hopes of giving Mahi, a second chance at life.
According to the SABMR, the cost of a bone marrow stem cell transplant from an international donor is more than double the cost of a local donor.
As these costs are covered by SABMR, the non-profit organisation has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, in hopes to save baby Mahi’s life.
Since the launch of the campaign, over R16 000 has been raised towards the fundraising target of R1 000 000, with kind contributions from donors both locally and internationally.
To support Baby Mahi, you can donate financially here or sign up as a bone marrow donor here. You could be baby Mahi’s match or her match could be unknowingly sitting on your friends’ list. So if you can only do one thing, share Baby Mahi’s story with your friends, family and colleagues.