Allison Ekstrand
  1. What is the name of your business and what is your role? The Sunflower Fund partnered by DKMS. I am the PR & Events Specialist for KZN.
  2. Describe your business in two sentences. The Sunflower Fund partnered by DKMS is a donor recruitment center and stem cell registry. We fight blood diseases like leukemia through the recruitment of stem cell donors and maintaining a registry of potential donors committed to helping anyone in need of a life-saving (bone marrow) stem cell transplant.
  3. How long have you been in business? 2020 sees our 20th anniversary
  4. How did you get into this business? The formation of The Sunflower Fund in 1999, was inspired by the heroic struggle against leukemia of two brave young men, Darren Serebro and Chris Corlett. While he was in treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Chris Corlett painted a picture, which he titled ‘Sunflowers of Hope’. This was the main inspiration for the name of The Sunflower Fund, by his mom Tina Botha the founder of the organisation.
  5. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? Lack of awareness and funding – we are on a continuous journey to spread awareness through as many mediums as possible and find innovative and sustainable ways to raise funds for the cause.  Through strong collaborations like our partnership with DKMS, we have been able to open up many more doors in attaining our goals and serving our patients better.
  6. What single trait/skill could you not have succeeded without? Interpersonal skills.
  7. What is the best business advice you’ve received? Take on new challenges by stepping outside your comfort zone as many times as possible, so much so that you master your perceived inadequacies.
  8. Your secret to business success is? Humility and a hunger to learn.
  9. What is your business goal for 2020? Making a meaningful difference by streamlining our various efforts to serve our core mission – getting as many patients to transplant as possible through donor recruitment.
  10. Tell us one thing that not many people know about you? My favourite colour is purple (any shade) and my birthstone is Amethyst.