Chinese-Canadians respond to stem-cell call

BY PAMELA FAYERMAN, VANCOUVER SUNMARCH 30, 2010
The number of Chinese-Canadians registered as potential stem cell donors has risen 75 per cent after simultaneous one-day events in Vancouver and Toronto this past weekend.

“We made history. It was the largest one-day stem cell drive event we’ve ever had,” said Sue Smith, executive director of the Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.

The drive, held Saturday at Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre, and in Toronto, saw a total of 4,025 people lined up to get the inside of their cheeks swabbed so cells containing DNA could be collected, typed and entered into a national registry.

Stem cell transplants are used to treat — and even cure — those suffering from blood cancers and other disorders involving benign or malignant conditions.

Chinese-Canadians make up only two per cent of the Canadian registry of unrelated stem cell donors while Caucasians make up 82 per cent. That means that it could be almost impossible to find a donor when a Chinese patient needs one since the best chance of finding a match is within a patient’s own ethnic group. First nations, South Asian and Southeast Asians are also poorly represented in the national and international registries.

Smith credited media coverage and volunteers in community groups for the success of the one-day campaign, which boosted the registry of Chinese donors by 75 per cent. In Vancouver, 1,900 individuals were registered during the event and in Toronto, 2,100 people were added. Said Madellina Lau, co-chair of the Vancouver event and mother of a woman who died last year from leukemia (before a stem cell transplant): “It is so heartwarming to see how much our fellow Chinese-Canadians care for Chinese patients searching for stem cell donors.”

Smith said the Vancouver turnout far exceeded expectations. And now the blood service hopes other ethnic community groups will match the success of Chinese organizations. “We’re working on partnerships with other community groups like South Asians for Life, the Health Association of African Canadians, Aboriginal Nurses of Canada, Filipino and many other ethnocultures,” she said.

Dr. Clay Smith, director of the Leukemia/ Bone Marrow Transplant program of British Columbia and chair of the Tumour Group Council of the BC Cancer Agency, said all the efforts are critically important to patients.

“Frankly, there is a need for representation for all ethnic groups other than those who are descended from European background where donor representation is now pretty good.” There are more than 14 million registered adult volunteer donors in [about] 69 donor registries around the world.

pfayerman@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) in UK

Thanks to Beverley De-Gale, co-founder of the UK charity ACLT, Carolyn’s story has been added to the Appeals Page on ACLT’s website.  Check out the link below

http://www.aclt.org/index.php/appeals/

~ CLICK HERE TODAY TO BECOME A DONOR ~

 

Bone Marrow Recipient Meets Man Who Saved His Life A Decade Ago

Bone Marrow Recipient Meets Man Who Saved His Life A Decade Ago

Friday August 22, 2008

What if you were asked to undergo a procedure to help save the life of someone you didn’t even know? And how would you feel if your contribution did just that?

Keith Murray can answer that question. The New Brunswick man came out of nowhere to save Brampton resident Eric Perron. But the duo had never met each other until Friday.

The story of how Murray and Perron became forever intertwined is a heart tugging tale of sacrifice and a simple act that was anything but.

It started in 1998 when leukemia patient Perron received a desperately needed bone marrow donation from Murray, a gift that wound up saving his life. For 10 years, neither man had ever met face-to-face. But when the east coast resident emerged from the doors at Pearson International Airport in the afternoon it was like they’d known each other forever.

“He’s part of the family,” Perron laughs, as he hugs his hero. “I’m very happy that he’s here.”

Murray doesn’t consider himself anything special. He was a regular blood donor until a friend from Newfoundland told him about the bone marrow program. And he didn’t hesitate to join up.

Little did he know he’d soon provide a match and give the 42-year-old Perron his second chance.

“This happened as just a matter of a regular blood donation,” he recounts. “I was told I was a positive match and so we got pretty excited about the idea of being able to contribute to someone that was in deep need of some bone marrow.”

But Perron, who now has a newborn child that wouldn’t have been here without Murray’s vital contribution, knows his new friend has changed his life. “I was lucky,” the recipient admits. “I have a brother and two sisters. They were not compatible with me.”

But Murray was and he wants his reward to be others getting involved in the One Match program. To find out how, click here.

Meanwhile, the two connected families are planning a champagne dinner and a night on the town – all on Perron, of course. It is, after all, the least he can do.

“There’s no chance I can survive without help, right?” he asks rhetorically. “And I’ve been lucky to have someone matching and right now I’m here because of that.”

“It’s important that people understand that it’s a painless program,” Murray concludes, looking at his beaming friend. 

“And the rewards are unbelievable.”

 

~ CLICK HERE TODAY TO BECOME A DONOR ~

 

We are on NBC!

Thanks Jenny for getting us on NBC.  Good job!!

———

Aug 15, 2008 … Carolyn Tam. New Jersey Woman Leads Bone Marrow Drive

Jenny Pang was inspired by her friend diagnosed with a rare form of
leukemia. … more

~ CLICK HERE TO BECOME A DONOR TODAY ~

 

 

DOGA spreading the news to help save the life of one of their old girls, Carolyn Tam.

Recently there has been a special request by one of our alumnae, artist and singer Ms. Karen Morris (class ’88) to help spread her pledge for help to her close primary school classmate, Carolyn Tam.

Carolyn unfortunately has been diagnosed with Leukemia and is in urgent need to seek for a matching bone marrow donor to save her life. For anyone who is willing to help, you can register with HK Red Cross to become a donor and have your blood tested.

Hong Kong Red Cross Hotline: 2710 1206

Visit your nearest HK Red Cross donor centre today and become a registered donor

Please help DOGA and Karen spread the news to help save the life of one of our old girls, Carolyn Tam.

http://www.doga.org.hk/

EARS Online 廣播線網上電台

Thank you Jason for talking about Carolyn, and to have her banner posted on your site.  Appreciate it.

http://www.earsonline.com/chinese/staffs/index.html

ESEA-UoL (UK) InfoNews

Carolyn was recently mentioned in the latest Infonews for ESEA-UoL (East South East Asian Online International Alumni Society – University of Liverpool!

http://www.ulesea-mastersonline.net/34827.html