We started discussing the form that our corporate social investment would take well over a year ago. While we weren’t clear at first exactly what our programme would look like, we agreed that certain criteria were non-negotiable.
First, we felt that sharing our technological expertise was as important as donating time and/or money. By contributing our unique know-how, we share the ‘essence’ of our company. Second, we were determined to select partners with impeccable credentials and expertise of their own so that the credibility and impact of our programme was without question. Finally, we committed to making it really easy for other people to contribute to our programme alongside us, should they choose to.
Today, we’re proud to introduce the Netcells ‘Families of Hope’ sibling cord blood donor programme.
We aim to give South African families, in both financial and medical need, access to umbilical cord stem cell banking they may ill-afford. In so doing, we endeavour to extend the hope of stem cell therapies to children suffering from leukaemia, aplastic and Fanconi’s anaemia, sickle-cell disease, thalassaemia and other diseases treatable with stem cell transplants.
Six families – two based in KwaZulu-Natal, three in Gauteng and one in Mpumalanga – are already benefitting from the programme. They are at various stages of their journey with Netcells and we wish them the best outcome for their children’s treatments.
How the programme works
For eligible children whose mother is pregnant with a full biological sibling, Netcells will facilitate the collection of umbilical cord blood at the delivery of the sibling, as well as processing, testing and storage of the stem cells at our laboratory thereafter.
There is a one-in-four chance that full biological siblings are a genetic match – should this be the result of our testing and at the request of the affected child’s physician, we will arrange delivery of the stem cells to any medical facility in South Africa for transplant.
Our partnership with CHOC
We work closely with paediatric oncologists and with the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation to identify the children and families who will most benefit from the ‘Families of Hope’ programme.
In recognition of CHOC’s critical contribution to the care of South African children with cancer, to the education of medical staff, and to the awareness and early detection of these illnesses, CHOC is a beneficiary of the ‘Families of Hope’ programme.
How you can help
We have committed to making umbilical cord stem cell banking available to one family for every 100 cord blood units that are privately banked. When banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood with Netcells, you contributed to the ‘Families of Hope’ programme in a very tangible way.
There is another, even more significant way that you can assist – please lend us your network so that we can increase referrals to the ‘Families of Hope’ programme.
Share this information with families and friends who have contacts in medical, childcare, charitable, social service and other related fields, or who themselves are in need. Alternatively, please pass on their contact details so we can be in touch directly.
The more people know about the ‘Families of Hope’ programme, the more children we can assist.