How to set up a Blood & Stem Cell Drive

Here is the process you will take to set up a drive in your neighbourhood. Please understand that the SANBS and SABMR want to do everything in their power to assist anyone in running a drive, (we need as many as humanly possible countrywide), but they also need some time to coordinate things from their side. Often the blood bank needs to close clinics in order to get staff to a venue – and they also need to work between travel schedules.

  1. Find a venue
    Ideally you should find a very large venue with good ventilation or an outdoor venue, so that people will still feel safe coming to donate. Parking is something to consider _ but hopefully people coming will be patient enough as they are coming for a good cause. But going into third wave I do suggest large or open air venue
  2. Contact SANBS (South African National Blood Service)
    You need to first complete a form to apply on their website
    This part was the slowest turnaround for me so be patient – They will come back to you as and when they can. Once you have applied online they will contact you to confirm the amount of people you expect at the event, and will then book with you to come and check the venue before they can set a confirmed date. There are certain factors they need to take into account:
    – size of venue
    – where they would set up
    – ensure the blood can be kept out of the sun and safe
    – that there is space to adhere to C19 regulations
    – etc
  3. Contact SABMR (South African Bone Marrow Registry)
    My experience with the SABMR has been nothing short of incredible. The turnaround time of communication, the teaching resources and time they have invested in me in order to understand the processes, as well as the resources they have sent in order to set up mobile bone marrow donation registrations, has all been above & beyond. You can email in order to enquire about setting up a mobile unit if you have a venue that allows for it as well as someone who can guide people wanting to donate. It is important this unit isn’t left unattended as the chances the kits will be used incorrectly is high and then we have waste on an already expensive process. It is vital that these kits also stay out of direct sunlight and heat.
  4. Get the word out.
    Use your networks and encourage all people you know and people they know to please sign up. Part of the job is educating people on the fact that signing up as a bone marrow donor is no longer a surgical (and very painful) procedure. Details below.

What does the bone marrow DONATION process look like?
The process involves you being matched to someone (which would be a gift!!) and then you would go through 5 days of “conditioning your body” to produce more stem cells. This involves an injection once in the morning every day for 5 days before you go about your day. After the 5 days of conditioning you will then go to a designated donation station where you will be hooked up to a machine very similar to that of a platelet donation machine, and that will separate your stem cells from your blood, the blood will go back into you and the small bag of stem cells will go on to the person receiving your donation. You may feel slightly achey the day after your donation, but that is apparently in most cases the worst of it.

Some FAQ:
 – how long after covid can I sign up? 6 weeks after any covid symptoms 
– any surgery (not cancer related) where someone was not under general can sign up after 6 weeks of that surgery 
– you can’t sign up if you only have one kidney 
– pregnant and b/feeding people can sign up as bone marrow donors but can’t donate until no longer feeding

If you can’t donate but want to help please consider donating to the SABMR
Here are their bank details:

Bank: First National Bank
Account: South African Bone Marrow Registry
Account #: 50140033031
Branch: Rondebosch
Branch code: 201509

or use the following link for mobile access:

I hope this helps those wanting to set up drives – THANK YOU ALL

Author: Shan Fourie

Shan Fourie is a busy mom of three, based in Ballito, and is a full-time lifestyle blogger/Content Creator. With over 14 years of experience in marketing, Shan began blogging in 2018, and embarked into full-time content creation in 2021. Shan uses her platform to share brands, businesses as well as to raise awareness and funds for causes and initiatives close to her heart. Somewhat of an activist, Shan has helped bring people together for multiple causes, including A21 Walk for Freedom, multiple Bone Marrow & Blood drives, a peaceful protest to stop NetCare Alberlito from closing its paeds ward, as well as other movements she is passionate about. Her biggest focus this year is on raising funds, alongside The Rise Up Movement, for a GBV safe house in Kwadukuza, along with a lab for facilitating rape-kits on site, instead of having to send them to Pretoria. Shan is an official Ambassador for (a) The SA Bone Marrow Registry, (b) the Red Movement (a movement intent on eradicating period poverty), and (c) and a partner of the Rise Up Movement - an NPO that stands against GBV, Child abuse, and Human Trafficking. Shan was a Mrs South Africa 2022 finalist, 2023 CANSA ambassador for Mrs South Africa, and Discovery Bank was her gold sponsor. Shan is also the official Wellness influencer for Gateway Theatre of Shopping and The Pencil Club Umhlanga. Shan believes that wellness is all-encompassing - mental, physical and emotional. She believes it is important to keep your life clean of toxicity. Self-care is super important to her.

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