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Finding Fanele a donor

Finding Fanele a donor

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In March this year, Fanele Memela (6) was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, but sadly none of her family members offer a viable bone marrow stem cell donor match. 

To find a suitable donor, the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) has activated a nationwide search and will be ramping up donor recruitment efforts to give this twinkle eyed Durbanite, a second chance. 

Fanele is currently undergoing chemotherapy until a matching donor is found.  

Her mother, Gugu Mkhulisi, says as a parent all you want to do is to help and protect your child. “However, in this instance, there’s very little I can do.  I have to rely on the generosity and goodwill of others. 

“It broke my heart when the doctors shared the news that none of us offered a good enough match. While this journey has been tough, it has opened my eyes to so much that I didn’t know about. I have learned about the dire shortage of black donors on the registry, which makes it so difficult for children like Fanele, to get the help they need.”

According to the SABMR, black donors only make up a mere 10% of registered donors. That means there is a slim chance of finding a match for Fanele and other children like her. 

A patients’ best chance of finding a match is within their own ethnic group. The lack of donors of color is not unique to South Africa, globally there is a 27% chance of people of color finding a match, compared to that of Europeans who have a 70% chance of finding a comparable tissue match. 

It is for this reason that the SABMR is raising funds alongside the family to bolster donor recruitment efforts. 

Kapil Premchand, SABMR Sustainability and Donor Recruitment Coordinator for the KZN region says around 200 cases are referred to the SABMR annually, and the goal is to eventually be able to assist every patient. 

Our mission is to save as many lives as possible. Often, we find ourselves in a position where there is no suitable match, as is in Fanele’s case, but this doesn’t deter our efforts. 

“With this campaign we aim to raise R500 000.00 which will help to get as many black donors as possible between the ages of 16 and 45 to sign up to the registry.” 

Mkhulisi who refers to her daughter as a superhero, says Fanele has many things she aspires to and hopes that her daughter gets the second chance she wishes for. 

Her future aspirations change as often as the weather. She has recently decided that she no longer wants to be a doctor (like me), but rather a singer. She loves her little brother who is six-months old, and I would like for her to be around to spend many more years with him as they already share such a special bond. 

I am appealing to my fellow black South Africans to become bone marrow stem cell donors. It only takes 3 minutes to sign up and if you’re a match, the stem cell donation process is very similar to giving blood and all the costs are covered by the registry.


To donate, click the button below or to sign up as a donor, visit


  • Jun 09, 2022 - R 100.00
  • "hope it of luck" - brahm

  • Jun 08, 2022 - R 500.00
  • "Love and strength for a complete recover. " - Kay

  • Jun 07, 2022 - R 2 000.00
  • "Lord God, please bless this child and send the perfect match for Fanele. Thank you Lord, amen." - Anonymous

  • Jun 07, 2022 - R 250.00
  • "Anonymous" - Snapscan

  • Jun 06, 2022 - R 200.00
  • "God Bless" - Suvarn Reddy

  • Jun 01, 2022 - R 100.00
  • "Please try "Nano Soma" it will help, Google it for more info" - Anonymous

  • Jun 01, 2022 - R 1 000.00
  • "Praying for Fanele to find a donor " - Anonymous

  • Jun 01, 2022 - R 500.00
  • "May god bless and help you find a donor soon ️ Will keep you in our prayers " - Trish

  • Jun 01, 2022 - R 10 000.00
  • "May God bless you and help you " - Anon

  • May 30, 2022 - R 200.00
  • "


    " - Snapscan

Donate to this charity


Donations to date

R 14 850.00

Fundraising target

R 250 000.00

The South African Bone Marrow Registry

The South African Bone Marrow Registry Logo

The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) exists to help find matching bone marrow donors for critically ill South African children and adults who need a transplant but do not have a match within their own family. The only one of its kind in South Africa, the SABMR is committed to helping every patient referred to it. If there is no matching donor in South Africa, we take our search worldwide - “We search the world to find your perfect match”.