Mackenzie Friedman was born a perfectly healthy bouncing baby girl but now at five months old desperately needs a life-saving blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor.
Affectionately referred to as “Mighty Mack”, Mackenzie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) on May 12 and requires regular blood and platelet transfusions inbetween her rigorous chemotherapy treatments.
“After she experienced a sudden spike in her temperature, first-time mom, Megan Harrington-Johnson rushed her to the general practitioner, who referred her to a paediatrician to run some diagnostic blood tests. It was with great shock and terror that the family learnt of Mackenzie’s life-threating blood disorder and it has been an arduous journey for them since.
“Mack’s 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,” said Stephanie Berry of DKMS Africa.
DKMS Africa, formerly known as The Sunflower Fund, is the SA entity of the global DKMS family. DKMS is a stem cell donor registry and has registered more than 10.6 million donors worldwide.
Mackenzie’s mom has sent out an urgent plea for a donor, who could save her baby’s life.
“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,” said Harrington-Johnson.
The chances of a patient finding a donor match is 1 in 100,000 within their own ethnic group and subsequently the more donors who 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. 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,” explained Berry.