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Five-month-old ‘soldier’ Mackenzie needs life-saving donor match

"Mighty Mack", Mackenzie Friedman, and stem cell registry DKMS need your help. Picture: Supplied

Meander Chronicle Reporter

A five-month-old child desperately needs help to improve her health and possibly save her life. And by registering as a stem cell donor, you could potentially help her and others in dire need.

Mackenzie Friedman, who is affectionately known as “Mighty Mack”, has a whole army of supporters who have come out “guns blazing” in response to the family’s urgent appeal for assistance. Mackenzie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) on May 12, 2021, and requires regular blood and platelet transfusions in between her chemotherapy treatments. The tot’s story has been spread far and wide and the little fighter has endeared herself to South Africans.

Sudden spike

In a press release, DKMS, the international stem cell donor registry, said Mackenzie was born a healthy bouncing baby girl, with no indication of any serious underlying condition.

“After she experienced a sudden spike in her temperature, first-time mom, Megan Harrington-Johnson rushed her to the GP, who referred her to a paediatrician to run some diagnostic blood tests. It was with great shock that the family learnt of Mackenzie’s life-threating blood disorder and it has been an arduous journey for them since,” the organisation said.

Mackenzie has shown great fighting spirit in her battle against acute myeloid leukaemia. Picture: Supplied

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Mack’s tenacious fighting spirit has been evident in the regular updates the family shares with their large social media following.

She has fought her way through a bad infection and being in isolation in the hospital’s ICU. It was then confirmed that she would need a life-saving blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor as soon as possible.

“Please register as a blood stem cell donor so that you could potentially help save our little girl’s life or the life of another patient desperately in need of a transplant”, pleads her mom Megan Harrington-Johnson.

Greater chances

The chances of a patient finding a donor match is 1 in 100 000 within their own ethnic group and subsequently the more donors that register, the greater the chances of a patient finding a match.

“Anyone who is healthy and between the ages of 18 and 55 is eligible to register, and if one is a successful match, the process of donating blood stem cells is as painless as donating blood, much like donating blood platelets,” said DKMS.

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DKMS Africa, formerly known as The Sunflower Fund, is the South African entity of the global registry. DKMS is a stem cell donor registry and has registered more than 10.6 million donors worldwide. To register as a donor is a quick and simple process which involves a non-invasive cheek swab. Once you have registered online, a swab kit is sent to you via courier and then collected when you have completed the process.

For more information or to register as a blood stem cell donor, visit www.dkms-africa.org or call 0800 12 10 82, weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

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