Pink fire engine symbol of hope

The Hope fire engine. Picture: Supplied

When one hears terms like hope, courage, brave, heroes, it is almost an automatic response to formulate a picture of a firefighter in your head.

Such a response is a fitting tribute to the men and women who often risk their lives and push their bodies to limits to ensure they are fit and agile enough to endure tough conditions in a bid to save lives.

The Sunflower Fund this year anchored their annual Sunflower Day campaign on the theme of HopeTags, which are positive labels that unite and define the patients, donors and ordinary men and women who choose to do something life changing for a fellow human.

These hope tags are: Brave, Strong, Confident, Courageous, Selfless and Optimistic.

Almost as though it was scripted that way, the message behind this year’s Sunflower Day campaign was a perfect fit when the Cape Town Fire Services informed The Sunflower Fund that they were selected as the charity partner this year.

“In order to provide support to and highlight the good work that is being carried out by The Sunflower Fund, our service has converted one of our vehicles,” said Ian Schnetler, chief fire officer of City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services.

“This vehicle is a symbol of hope to those that are diagnosed with blood cancer like leukaemia and other blood diseases, and is primarily available in support of the various awareness campaigns to highlight the needs of patients with blood diseases and the need for more blood stem cell donors,” Mr Schnetler continued.

Unveiled on World Marrow Donor Day, at the Toughest
Firefighter Alive in South Africa challenge, on Saturday September 21, “Hope” is a bright pink fire engine. The colour is in line with the #hopetag Courageous, which is nothing short of accurate when thinking of the many donors who like firefighters commit themselves to saving lives.

“We are honoured to partner with the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service and to have the privilege of literally taking
hope around the city as we raise awareness about the need for blood stem cell donors,” said Alana James, chief executive officer of The Sunflower Fund.

Stem cell donors are selfless individuals who commit themselves to helping anyone for whom they might be a life-saving match. The show of bravery, strength and confidence of the 100 firefighters at the competition this year, was amplified by the response of those who registered as donors on the day too.

The Sunflower Fund is calling on men and women between the ages of 18 and 45 years weighing more than 50kg and with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 40 to register as stem cell donors. You could be the life-saving match a patient is waiting on.

Hope will soon leave her “home” at the Roeland Street Fire Station to visit schools and organisations in various communities to spread awareness and education and to help save lives.

To arrange a visit and demonstration, contact The Sunflower Fund on 0800 12 10 82 or info@sunflowerfund.org.

About The Sunflower Fund:

The Sunflower Fund is a donor recruitment centre and stem cell registry that is part of a global network, dedicated to creating awareness about blood diseases and
stem cell donation, recruiting blood stem cell donors and maintaining a registry of committed donors.

The Sunflower Fund pays for the cost of the tissue-type
testing. This is fundamental to saving the lives of South Africans who need a stem cell transplant. The chance of finding a
matching donor is 1 in 100,000 – and as ethnic origin plays a significant role in the search for a donor, South Africa’s rainbow nation is at a distinct disadvantage,
requiring a large pool of prospective donors.

Should you wish to become a donor, support one of the fundraising projects or make a financial contribution, contact The Sunflower Fund on 0800 12 10 82.

Visit www.sunflowerfund.org to learn more or look out for the donate button to make a cash donation via the website.