In Vancouver, Ms. Gebbie Hou was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma cancer in 2013 and was treated. However, her cancer has returned after chemotherapy, and she now urgently needs help to find stem cell for treatment as the last resort. A stem cell transplant is Gebbie’s last hope. However, a donor has not yet been found.
A number of community organizations in Greater Toronto and surrounding areas are working with and helping One Match of Canadian Blood Services to conduct a “Save Gebbie Stem Cell Drive Campaign”, and the Campaign will be in this month on May 13 and 14 holding a multi-city, multi-location stem cell registration drive events to save lives.
The Campaign appeals and encourage young people (age 17- 35) to register and get swabbed, so that a matching can be carried to find the appropriate stem cell donor for Gebbie and over 800 patients in urgent need. Anyone who registered may be the successful life saver. Registration involves a simple painless swabbing of the inner part of the mouth, and the whole registration process would take only about 10 minutes. It is hope that everyone may participate in this events, get registered and swabbed, or bring or encourage relatives and friends to do so, by coming on May 13, 14 to the locations mentioned below, or go online the Canadian Blood Services website blood.ca to get registered. To register you must be 17 to 35 years old, healthy; Canadian citizen/resident; have valid provincial health insurance; and be willing to help any patient in the world. (Check blood.ca website for criteria updates)
Dr. Joseph Wong explains: Gebbie has a type of blood and bone marrow disease for which the only realistic, long-term cure is a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transfusion. Because of genetic compatibility, Gebbie’s donor is almost certainly Chinese. In the One Match System of the Canadian Blood Services, which is itself a member of the largest international search organization for stem cells, Chinese donors account for only 6% of all the donors. The percentage of Chinese is a lot less in the international search body. Therefore, the chance of finding a compatible donor for a Caucasian recipient is close to 80%, but for a Chinese patient it is only 20%. Although we are all eager to offer help and hope to Gebbie, we are actually building up the stem cell data bank of the Canadian system so that we can help Chinese in Canada and in other parts of the world.
We are appealing to all young people aged 17 to 35 to come forward to become stem cell donors. The reasons for the age limitation are many-fold, and is agreed upon by members of the international search body. It is easy to get a swab underneath the tongue to determine the genetic composition, and hence the compatibility between the donor and the recipient. The donation is also a simple procedure: it is almost like blood donation, except the donor’s blood will go through a sterile equipment to extract the stem cells and the remaining (over 99%) will flow back to the donor. There are hardly any serious side effects.
The donated stem cells will find their way to the bone marrow of the recipient, and start reproduction into different blood cell lines for the recipient, including healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, replacing the cancerous cells which have been killed by pre-treatment radiation and chemotherapy.”
This time, the multi-city, multi-location events will take place as follows:
Saturday May 13: 11 am- 4 pm
- Markham: First Markham Place (food court). 3255 Highway 7 East, Markham. (Between Warden & Woodbine)
Sunday May 14: 11 am – 4 pm
- Mississauga: Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. (5510 Mavis Rd., Mississauga. Mavis/Hwy 401)
- Scarborough: CPAC (4150 Finch Avenue East, Toronto. (Finch/ Midland) Register online
- Markham: Market Village (Food court) – the stage area. (4390 Steeles Avenue East, Markham. Steeles/Kennedy)
- Richmond Hill: Time Square Mall. 550 Hwy 7, Richmond Hill (Hwy 7/ Leslie)
Saving lives is very meaningful. “Save Gebbie Stem Cell Campaign” is also planning for further events in the future. ‘Saving lives without border’, Organizations and individuals are welcome to join in the events of this meaningful campaign; for now, new volunteers of the aforementioned May 13, 14 events are welcomed to contact us (416)858-2283.
Volunteers for the campaign held at CPAC on May 14, please contact CPAC office at 416-298-7885 ext. 101. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.