According to her father Ashwin, there were no signs of tiredness and Dhiya was her usual active self but her parents decided to take her to the doctor. After various tests and a bone marrow aspiration the family learnt that Dhiya had Aplastic Anaemia, a disease they were unaware of and until then had no knowledge of. They were devastated and overcome with grief upon hearing this. "At this point we had to be strong for our daughter through these testing times," explains Ashwin.
Dhiya desperately needs to find a bone marrow stem cell donor match in order to survive. The chances of finding a donor match are 1:100 000 within your ethnic group and her only sibling has been tested and is not a match.
The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) has also been searched and no donor match was found so the family urges everyone who is healthy, between the ages of 18 and 45 and weighs over 50kg's to phone The Sunflower Fund's toll free number (0800 12 10 82) and find out how to become a donor for anyone with a life-threatening blood disorder in need of a transplant.
"It only takes two test tubes of blood to become a donor and if you are a successful match, the donor process is as painless as donating blood," explains Stephanie Berry, PR Manager for The Sunflower Fund in KwaZulu Natal. "Bone marrow is no longer surgically removed but additional white blood cells are harvested directly from the blood stream much like donating blood or platelets. Donors must however be aware that they are joining the Registry to help any patient in need of a transplant."
Berry continued, "Anyone not able to donate towards the cost of their test will be placed on a waiting list and when funds become available their forms will be sent to them. It costs The Sunflower Fund R2 000 to tissue type each blood sample before the results can be included on the South African Bone Marrow Registry, which is why The Sunflower Fund does extensive fundraising. A contribution towards this tissue typing cost, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated."
Dhiya loves sports, drawing, and painting, roller skating and playing with her friends. When asked whether the family had a message for the public, they responded, "Please become a registered donor. You might not be a match for our daughter but there are many children in need of a stem cell transplant and you could be a potential donor for them".
Visit or phone toll free on 0800 12 10 82, weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm to find out more information about becoming a bone marrow stem cell donor. The donor liaison will go through the donor requirements and you will then be directed to your closest blood clinic to donate.