Will you marrow me? Ontario student’s search for bone marrow donor comes to Surrey

Published: March 27, 2014
Bone Marrow donor-Surrey

Ontario student Moneet Mann is coming to Surrey in her search for a bone marrow donor. Submitted/Vancouver Desi

MANPREET GREWAL
VANCOUVER DESI

Will you marrow me?

A 24-year-old Brampton, Ont. girl is bringing her desperate search for a bone marrow match to Surrey this weekend.

Moneet Mann was studying to be a teacher at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in October last year.

Although the news has been devastating for her and her family, she has chosen to see the blessing in her early diagnoses. With a stem cell transplant she can get back to her life, her school, her friends and passion to teach children.

But her challenge is that a perfect bone marrow match isn’t always available – in extreme cases, the odds of a match may be as little as one in 750,000.

Since her diagnosis she’s started up her ‘Will You Marrow Me?’ campaign to hunt for a donor, which will be holding a swabbing event alongside Canadian Blood Services at Surrey’s Dukh Nivaran Gurdwara on Sunday. Mann is particularly putting the call out to South Asian donors between the ages of 17 to 35.

According to Canadian Blood Services, matching between donor and patient happens on a genetic level. What this means is that if a patient is from a certain ethnic background, their donor is most likely going to be from the same ethnic group.

Doctors consider young men to be optimal donors because stem cells from young men can produce fewer chances of complications post-transplant. Also, men are typically physically bigger than women, so they can produce a greater volume of stem cells for the patient.

One of Canadian Blood Services’ priorities is to increase the ethnic diversity of the registry by encouraging people of varying ethnic origins to consider volunteering to donate bone marrow.

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“To accurately reflect the changing face of Canada, we need more potential donors from diverse backgrounds,” said Marcelo Dominguez of Canadian Blood Services. “Awareness is a big part of educating the public about the importance of stem cell donors, especially young men from diverse communities.”

“Although families and community partners may help in bringing awareness events together around  one patient’s needs, it’s important to understand that people cannot direct their donation to a specific patient and need to be willing to donate to anyone in need today, or even several years down the line.”

“Canadian blood services have simultaneous campaigns going on throughout the country. We hope that people who consider registering with One Match are committed to helping any patient in need anywhere in the world,” added Dominguez.

He also wants to remind the public that patients like Mann also need blood and blood products to maintain their health, so he hopes people will consider booking an appointment to donate blood at their local blood donor clinic.

Potential donors can find out more and register at the event or online at onematch.ca

About 25 per cent of patients will find a match within their family, with the remaining 75 per cent relying on the generosity of strangers – an unrelated volunteer donor – to save their life.

You may just be that donor, so come out and get swabbed and help Mann and many like her who are waiting to get back to their lives.

Canadian Blood Services and Mann’s ‘Will You Marrow Me?’ campaign are running the swabbing event at Surrey’s Dukh Nivaran Gurdwara on 68 Ave. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

It’s just a simple swab test to find potential matches.

To join the registry, you must be aged 17 to 35, healthy, and willing to donate bone marrow to anyone in need.

For more information go to

www.blood.ca

www.onematch.ca/join

www.organsandtissues.ca/donate

Or call 1-888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to book an appointment to donate blood.

Manpreet Grewal is a freelance writer based in Abbotsford. She can be emailed at manpreetgrewal@shaw.ca.

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