31-year-old Kwazinkosi Mhlongo successfully registered to become a stem cell donor and recently, he became someone’s life-saving match.
South Africa (22 February 2023) – 31-year-old Kwazinkosi Mhlongo from KwaZulu-Natal has become a successful stem cell donor after matching with a cancer patient who is currently fighting a type of blood cancer.
The DKMS Africa team sat down to speak to Kwazinkosi, finding out what inspired him to become a registered donor and how he feels about being able to help someone in need.
Kwazinkosi shared that he became inspired to be a donor after seeing a story about a DKMS patient on the WhatsApp status of Mama Nontembeko. He reached out to ask what it was all about and she shared all the information.
Not long afterwards, Kwazinkosi registered as a donor, received his swab kit and sent it off for analysis.
“It was very easy and I wasn’t sure what would happen next but I was happy I did it.”
The call came in that he was a match and at first, he admits he was scared but then his drive to save a life overtook that fear.
“When I got the call that I was a matching donor I had mixed feelings. I was scared but excited because this was my chance to save someone’s life so I said yes.
I have seen cancer take the breadwinners of families and even their children. Growing up in the early 90s KwaMaphumulo instilled strong values in me. Where I come from, if you can help someone then you do it with an open heart, even if you don’t have much to give.”
Kwazinkosi has always hoped to contribute to society through medical care. When he was younger, he applied to become a medical student but was not admitted to the medical university. Now, a master’s student in a different field, he feels proud that he is able to contribute, even as a donor.
“I strongly believe in our collective duty to care for and help one another. If we did that, then society would be a better place. We all deserve a better quality of life and it’s not all on our government to provide that, it is a shared responsibility. Let’s give each other one less thing to worry about by registering to become blood stem cell donors with DKMS Africa.”
How to register
DKMS has registered over 10.5 million donors globally and facilitated more than 91 000 transplants; this means 91 000 second chances of life for patients suffering from a life-threatening blood disorder.
Having more donors improves the chances that a patient will be able to find their match. Getting more people to register means correcting longstanding misconceptions about what it means to be a bone marrow donor. Being a donor is not as painful, invasive or permanent as many people believe.
If you are between the ages of 18 – 55 and in general good health, request a swab kit at dkms-africa.org. It starts with a swab, and it ends with saving a life!
There are other ways to support blood cancer and blood disorder patients if you are not eligible to donate blood stem cells. You can help DKMS Africa spread awareness, host donor drives, contribute financially and order and distribute swab kits to your network. You can find out more here.
For those in Gauteng still waiting on swab-kits to register as donors, please be advised that unfortunately due to high registration numbers in the province, there is a backlog in the system. You can find out more about that here.