AmaZulu FC collaborates with DKMS to raise awareness on blood cancer

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AmaZulu Football Club has joined forces with DKMS, an international non-profit organisation, to increase awareness about blood cancer and blood disorders.

The collaboration with AmaZulu aims to educate people about cancer, following the passing of the club’s striker Bongi Ntuli last year. DKMS, the German Bone Marrow Donor Center, is dedicated to combating blood cancer and blood disorders.

Amateur soccer player, Owami Mbhele 27, was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia in 2022, impacting his aspiration to become a professional soccer player as he requires a stem cell donor.

Mbhele says, “Something that started in 2021 but I wasn’t diagnosed up until 2022, and as a soccer player my body wasn’t coping. I joined the organisation and they recruited me and explained to me in terms of what they are doing recruiting more people because this is the only way to find the match, especially for people of colour since in history if you look at the numbers 70 percent of people that are in the history are white people.”

Currently, DKMS has 12 million donors globally, with only 76 000 in South Africa. The organisation aims to recruit an ethnically diverse registry of donors.

Blood Cancer | DKMS-AmaZulu FC education initiative:

DKMS spokesperson Palesa Mokomele says, “Every 72 minutes in South Africa, someone is diagnosed with cancer, DKMS has seen a lot of patients who need stem cell donation and this is only a fraction of patients because others are diagnosed or they just make it to seek treatment…”

Mokomele adds, “There are different role players such as our organisation who are working tirelessly to make sure that we have an ethnically diverse donors registry because a patient has a better chance of finding a matching donor cell from someone from their own race. Our mission is to make sure that every single patient has a fighting chance against blood cancer and blood disorders.”

AmaZulu FC spokesperson Philani Ndlela highlighted their role in conveying the message to their supporters in townships and rural areas, aiming to dispel myths about cancer within the community.

Ndlela says, “We feel that we can play a part as a club and we believe that we are a team that plays a huge role in the community. Our presence and partnership will help to educate the black community about cancer as we know that where we come from the cancer issue is not taken seriously. And we still have the perception that it affects mainly white people and now it’s important black people get to learn about it and we will use the opportunity to educate.”

AmaZulu, DKMS team up to fight cancer