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Western University students host stem cell drive to ethnically diversify Canada’s blood supply

Lauren Sano has called a stem cell transplant “a gift of life” that her father Mark desperately needed after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2019. Unable to do so, Mark lost his battle with cancer.18 months later.

So when Sano read a July CBC News article about the Prajapati family in Brampton, Ontario, she learned she was in the same situation with her twin toddlers and decided to host a stem cell drive at Western University, where she’s a student. I decided to to help them.

Misha and Zoey Prajapati were 7 months old when they were diagnosed with Chronic Granulomatosis (CGD). The only cure is with a stem cell transplant.

“I felt very sad about these twins,” Sano said. ”

According to Canadian Blood Services (CBS), patients most expect a match is dating someone who has the same ethnic or ancestral background as them. Currently, his 66% of enrollees are made up of white donors. Only 7% of South Asians need twins.

According to CBS’s Chris van Doorn, there is a shortage of donors from racially diverse backgrounds, adding to the list of 1,000 Canadians awaiting stem cell matches.

“Canada is becoming more diverse and we need to match our registry to reflect that, so we have been working a lot with patients from diverse communities to ensure more people are enrolled. .

Toddler twins Zoey (left) and Misha Prajapati, and their parents Sanjay (left) and Nipa, say their family stories are encouraging more people from diverse backgrounds to join the stem cell registry. I hope you will. (Talia Rich/CBC)

College is the “golden time” for donations

Sano started the Western Stem Cell Club soon after his father died. At her university, she said, when she spoke to many student groups, she wasn’t surprised to hear that they didn’t know how stem cell transplants could save lives, especially among ethnic minorities. she said.

“Losing my father to leukemia was very painful, but the best thing I’ve learned from it is sharing what I had to go through so that others don’t have to suffer so much. was.”

Eligible donors must be healthy between the ages of 17 and 35. The process takes him less than 10 minutes and requires a swab of the inside of his cheek to collect the DNA to send to CBS, van Doorn said.

For Sano, this made the West the perfect place to recruit young, ethnically diverse donors.

“It’s a prime time to share this message, and if healthy people can donate blood or offer something with few side effects, it should be recognized, at least in places like campus,” she said.

Sano started the club after losing his father Mark (left) to leukemia in 2020. (Provided by Lauren Sano)

There are two ways to donate blood: peripheral blood donation, where blood is taken from one arm, the stem cells are harvested, and the remaining components are returned to the donor. The second is through surgical bone marrow transplantation, which is less common, van Doorn said.

“This is one of the only ways you can directly save someone’s life, a simple blood donation that’s so easy and can have a direct impact on someone,” he said.

“If you’re chosen, you’ll probably be the only person in the world to match that patient, so that’s very important.

The twins’ parents, Sanjay and Nipa, were extremely grateful when they heard about Sano’s drive.

“It’s very heartwarming to have someone willing to take the time to help our girls,” Sanjay said. “We’re optimistic because we only need one game. In this case, that’s really all we can do.”

The drive will take place on the Western University campus on November 24th and 25th. More information can be found online.

Western University students host stem cell drive to ethnically diversify Canada’s blood supply

Source link Western University students host stem cell drive to ethnically diversify Canada’s blood supply

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