“We are in support of this donor drive. Luzuko left us early, but our memories of him remain indelible"

Luzuko Koti’s legacy honoured with a leukaemia awareness campaign

There is an aura of inspiration when we all meet inspirational individuals that not only shape our lives but how we view the world around us.

These are human beings whose work of changing people’s lives is done not for praise, but to bring change, one life at a time.

Luzuko Sabelo Koti was such an individual. Koti passed on this year, on Human Rights Day. He would have turned 48. Today, this initiative is to memorialise his life and give people living with leukemia renewed hope.

The Koti family partnered with DKMS Africa, to spread the word and education about building awareness around stem cell donation-related challenges.

Luzuko was a reputable, well-known communicator, hence naming this campaign after his middle name, Sabelo; heeding the call to various stakeholders from hematology specialists, communicators, the media, and ordinary South Africans to take a keen interest in what it means when one contributes to the fight against blood cancer by becoming a stem cell donor.

Sabelo is a Nguni noun meaning share or a portion which poignantly captures who Koti was –selfless and a person who abundantly shared his life with those he interacted with, generously allocating them his time. #SABELO is a campaign that intends to carry on the torch.

Koti family representative Thando Koti-Kapoock:

“We are in support of this donor drive. Luzuko left us early, but our memories of him remain indelible. We are partaking in this donor drive because we believe more can be done for those battling leukemia – they do not need to be alone. There is support that they can count on. Indeed, this is iSabelo sobomi, a true share of life.”

One of Luzuko’s favourite expressions was:

“it is never enough just to state the problem. Taking action to change the part of your country is the highest form of patriotism.”

This is exactly what this initiative is about, and intends to achieve this through participation, and going further by showing care to the next person. 

DKMS Interim Country Manager, Palesa Mokomele:

“It’s through such campaigns that we get to see the beauty of humanity. We get to see people asking, how can I help? What role can I play? Hence, we are encouraging those aged between 18 to 55 to register via our website and join the global registry.”

Though DKMS Africa continues to do a lot around blood cancer and blood disorders, there is still a lot of work to be done around a call to action, a call for more donations with an equally strong message pointing out the importance of donating blood stem cell.

The reality, according to DKMS Africa, is that every 72 minutes a South African is diagnosed with blood cancer or a related disorder. To exacerbate this, only 0,04% South Africans registered as blood stem cell donors. 

Globally, there is a huge underrepresentation on the registry of donors for Black, Coloured, Indian and Asian blood cancer patients – this means patients from these ethnic groups only have a 19% chance of finding a donor and a mere 25% chance of finding a related match. 

As we kickstart the campaign with a fun run, Luzuko’s favourite pastime to keep fit, we want to also be mindful that “every person registering to be a donor could be a patient’s match.”

To register to be a donor, please visit https://www.dkms-africa.org/get-involved

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