Peddling for a purpose: SA Bone Marrow Registry

On the 17th of November 2019, 17 cyclists will take part in the Discovery 94.7 Ride Joburg in an effort to raise funds for the South African Bone Marrow Registry. Collectively their goal is to put foot to pedal to raise awareness, as well as funds towards the SABMR donor recruitment.

To date, the SABMR has helped save the lives of nearly 500 patients with life-threatening blood disorders by matching them with healthy, unrelated bone marrow donors from South Africa and the rest of the world.

Currently, there are 36 million registered donors worldwide and counting. However, Bone Marrow is related to heritage; because of our mixed inherited diversity, each patient has a 1 in 100 000 chance in finding a suitable matching donor. There are always patients who need a donor.

“Bone marrow related diseases is not a mystery, it is a solvable challenge. There are however many patients in need of stem cell transplant to offer them the best chance of survival. The solution: we must get everyone in the world on a registry to give them the best chance. Starting in South Africa.” – Dr Charlotte Ingram

As a non-profit public benefit organisation, the SABMR relies heavily on financial donations to cover the costs of donor recruitment which costs around R2000 per swab test kit. Each kit needs to be sent away to laboratories for tissue-typing before the results are placed on an international on-line registry.

To support the SABMR raising funds for donor recruitment, 17 cyclists from Johannesburg are taking on the Discovery 94.7 Ride Joburg this weekend, cycling a distance of 94kmin hopes to raise R300 000 for the organisation.

Funds raised by the crowdfunding campaign launched on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, will help cover the costs of 150 swab test kits, used to recruit new donors and expand the SABMR database.

Meet the cyclists for the Discovery 94.7 Ride Joburg

Francois De Jonge


Francois De Jonge (30), a humanitarian pilot, originally from Pretoria, is taking on the 947 in hopes to highlight the importance of donor recruitment. With his crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, he has already raised a total of R17 568.46.

“I am getting ready to ride the 947 to create much-needed awareness for the South African Bone Marrow Registry and the amazing work they do. I shall be riding every single kilometer not to prove anything to myself, but to root for a worthy cause which deserves much more recognition. It is my belief that small actions coupled with a lot of people can create a lot of change.” says Francois

Christine Roos

bone marrow

Christine Roos (28) from Benoni, is admittedly not a pro-cyclist, but is looking forward to taking on the 94.7 as part of the SABMR fundraising team. Her crowdfunding campaign on Backabuddy has thus far raised R5 589.19 to support the organisation.

“I’m really passionate about the SABMR. We can all make a massive difference to the lives of those who have no control of their health. Be so grateful for your life that your generosity spills over. Make a difference in the life of someone else who truly needs it! I am really looking forward to the race. I hope this is the start to raising awareness for the SABMR.” – says Roos

Emma Flanagan

bone marrow

Unable to become a bone marrow donor due to health concerns, Emma Flanagan (25) from Parkview, Johannesburg, is also taking on the 94.7 cycle challenge to support the SABMR.

“I have always wanted to give back to the SABMR. However, I am unfortunately not able to become a bone marrow donor due to a blood clotting disorder that I inherited. The organisation is so close to my heart because I have lost so many people in my life to diseases like cancer. If I can just help one person survive it would be an honour.” says Flanagan

Flanagan’s crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy has thus far raised a total of R5 589.19 in preparation for the event.

To support one of the SABMR cyclists on Backabuddy, make a donation here:

Combined, the cyclists have raised R75 215.96 towards their fundraising target of R300 000 with contributions from 140 donors. *All funds raised will be managed by the SABMR. Donors will also be eligible for a Section 18A tax certificate issued by the organisation.”

Become a Bone Marrow donor

According to SABMR, Sustainability Portfolio Manager, Kamiel Singh, there are currently only 74 000 donors registered on the site to cater to over 57 million South Africans.

bone marrow

“Every year, hundreds of South Africans with blood diseases such as leukemia reach the point where their only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. For about 30% of patients, a matched donor can be found in their own family; for the other 70%, their only hope is to find a matched unrelated donor identified by the SABMR.” – says Singh.

There’s an even greater need for donors of African descent, says Singh. This message was highlighted by Freshlyground lead singer, Zolani Mahola. She became a bone marrow donor 2 years ago after her friend’s passing. In 2018, Mahola raised R188 799.21 with her crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to support the SABMR.

bone marrow

“As a nation, we have a rich history of Ubuntu and we must continually find new ways of expressing it. With many of our donors coming from overseas, we need more donors of African descent. With the procedure itself not being the onerous and painful task it used to be, we have so much potential to make a difference at home” – said Mahola

Register to become a Bone Marrow donor with the South African Bone Marrow Registry here:

Full list of riders for the 94.7 Discovery Challenge

  1. Christine Roos – 28
  2. Sean Tasker – 38
  3. Lee Cothill – 31
  4. Emma Flannagan – 25
  5. Kaylin Verreyne – 30
  6. Craig Dingle – 38
  7. Greg Forrest – 33
  8. Candice-Lee Cuthbert – 31
  9. Bartholomew Gormley – 34
  10. Nicholas Lockyer – 27
  11. Tay Johnston – 29
  12. Ryan Ball – 33
  13. Liam Mott – 26
  14. Justin Botma – 27
  15. Chalana Skinner – 28
  16. Imogen Mackie – 27
  17. Francois De Jonge – 30

About BackaBuddy:

  • BackaBuddy is a proudly South African crowdfunding platform. Individuals have the opportunity to raise funds for causes they feel passionate about o this platform.
  • BackaBuddy has raised over R131 million for various charities, individuals and causes across South Africa.
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