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Lack of ethnic organ donors on Canadian registry frightening

October 18, 2014 10:42 pm

Bone marrow recipient urges ethnic donors to join registry

By   Global News

VANCOUVER — As hundreds run and walk through Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park tonight as part of the fight against Leukemia, Christina Law is particularly grateful for their support.

The 38-year-old was first diagnosed with the disease in 2003 and though her doctors wanted to perform a bone marrow transplant, she couldn’t find a match. Law was treated with high-dose chemotherapy, and was in remission for 10 years.

Unfortunately, in 2012 she had to fight for her life again when she was diagnosed with another blood disorder.  This time, a bone marrow transplant was the only option. She found a match and had the procedure, but it didn’t work as well as doctors had hoped. In a few weeks, with thanks to an anonymous donor, Law will be undergoing a second transplant.

“It’s like a ticking time bomb inside me and I don’t know whether things will go even worse, to the point that the doctor cannot save my life. It’s very scary,” Law toldGlobal News.

What is particularly frightening is the lack of ethnic donors on the Canadian registry. Only one in four are non-Caucasians.

Read More: Montreal woman who pleaded with B.C. residents to save her life finds umbilical cord donor

“A patient’s chance of finding a match within their own ethnic background is much, much higher,” says Law.

That’s why Law has become an advocate with the Chinese Stem Cell Initiative and urges people to take five minutes to sign up online with the bone marrow donor registry.

(…)

–With files from Elaine Yong.

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