Mai Duong is a 34-year-old woman from Montreal who is fighting for her life. Last year, she was diagnosed with acute leukemia, and beat it. But 10 months after being given a clean bill of health, she relapsed. Leukemia. "For the second time, because life's a bitch." But she is not going down without a fight.
Leukemia patient calls on visible minorities to donate stem cells
Mai, the mother of a 4-year-old, is currently in the hospital receiving chemotherapy treatment, but her chances of survival will be greatly increased by a stem cell donation, either through cord blood or a bone marrow transplant -- most likely, from a compatible donor of Vietnamese descent, like herself.
Unfortunately, only 19 percent of bone marrow donors in Quebec are non-white. And just one percent of the bone marrow registry is composed of Vietnamese people. Mai's brother, who had a 30 percent chance of matching, was not a match. So she's turning to you, good people of the internet, to get the word out.
If you live in Canada and would like to be tested to see if you are a match for Mai or another person in need, here's how:
1. Register online at onematch.ca in Canada and Héma-Québec in Quebec. They’ll send you a swab kit through the mail.
2. Swab your gums vigorously in the areas indicated on the instructions. Apply the same pressure you would while brushing your teeth. Put the swabs back in the envelope.
3. Send back to Canadian Blood Services or Héma-Québec (postal fees paid).
4. Once a compatible donor is found, he or she will need to undergo medical tests to assess his or her health.
5. If the right donor is found, the procedure can be done through apheresis (where the donor’s blood is passed through an apparatus that filters out one particular constituent and returns the remainder to circulation. It is thus an extracorporeal therapy) or though surgery.
Even if you're not in Canada, please consider registering if you haven't already. You could save a life.
For further information and updates about Mai, visit her Facebook page.
More here: Mai Duong, Quebec Woman Battling Leukemia, Looking For Vietnamese Stem Cell Donor