On 12 May 2021, at just 5 months old, Nikita Friedman’s niece Mackenzie “Mighty Mack” Friedman was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) – a life-threatening blood cancer.   

Following her diagnosis, she underwent 10 days of intense chemotherapy, 3 surgeries and a few days in ICU. On 31 May, Mack was classed as high risk, and in need of an urgent bone marrow transplant due to the strain of AML that she has – as the chemotherapy will not be completely effective and Mack will keep relapsing.

Hot Cares will be donating R5 000 to the South African Bone Marrow Registry and would like to make an urgent plea for donors to register and help patients like Mackenzie. The call is to all South Africans as an ethnically diverse bone marrow registry is incredibly important. A recipient’s best chance of finding a match is someone from the same ethnicity, heritage and ancestry.

You can register online at www.sabmr.co.za. You will then have a swab kit and direction sent to you. The process is simple, you just take a swab on the inside of your cheek, and the SABMR will have it collected from you.

Your swab is then sent overseas to be “typed” and added to the registry. The patient gets typed as well and hopefully matched with a donor. There is an incredibly slim 1 in 100 000 chance of finding a match.

If you are a match, you will be contacted, so if you have previously registered with any of the bone marrow organisations, we would also like to encourage you to contact them and make sure that your details are up to date.

The donation process is completely non-invasive. You will go on medication for about a week to help stimulate stem cell growth. The donation process is similar to donating blood and lasts for 4-6 hours. There are no long-term side effects and if you are one of the lucky ones, you can even donate again.

 Donating blood is equally important as Mack currently needs a blood transfusion every second day. There is a major shortage of blood in South Africa and many people need it on a daily basis to survive.