Riekie all set for life-saving transplant thanks to Angus public’s generosity

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A South African mum will be undergoing a transplant next week following a fundraising campaign set up by her best friend.

Bekki Smith-Dutton, from Montrose, sent out a heart-felt appeal across social media to help her raise a total of £15,000 by the end of July for her friend Riekie Cloete to have a stem cell transplant.

Single mother Riekie has an aggressive form of leukaemia and a 100 per cent bone marrow match was found in Germany but her medical aid did not cover foreign donor matches.

Bekki had already raised around £3000 and sent out a desperate appeal across social media in the summer to help her realise the funds.

Thanks to the generosity of the public the target was reached in time for the July deadline.

Riekie, who is mum to son HenRoux (5) and Carla (8), began chemotherapy last week at Pretoria East Hospital, undergoing three types of chemo in four days.

She will be in hospital for at least six months, and during that time she will not be able to see her children, which Bekki said came as a “shock” to Riekie.

Riekie, a nursing sister, is under the care of a leading haematologist in Pretoria, 250-plus miles way from her hometown of Bloemfontein.

Bekki, owner of the Cloud 9 salon in Arbroath, said: “She had radiation therapy on Monday and Tuesday and starts another four days of intensive chemo today (Wednesday).

“She’s left me voicemail messages and has said she’s very ill.

“She had to have a red blood transfusion the other day and felt much better after that.

“She’s in isolation for six weeks and has no family there. They can’t afford to fly out as it is expensive.

“She will see her sisters at Christmas when she comes out of isolation for a couple of weeks.

“She starts the stem cell transplant next week.

“Before she went to get the treatment she said she could feel the cancer kicking in. The treatment came just in time.”

Bekki and Riekie, both 39, met 15 years ago when they were working on cruise ships.

Bekki added: “People are still fundraising and I just sent another £1200 across to her.

“Without the public’s support she wouldn’t be getting the treatment, she would be dying.

“Thank you to everyone for their support.”