Leukemia patient pins hopes on OneMatch stem cell donor registry

Each day is a gift for Chris Taylor and every phone call could be the one that saves his life.

Thats why the 36-year-old man with acute myeloid leukemia keeps his cellphone within reach, waiting to hear that a stem cell donor has been found and hell get the bone marrow transplant he needs.

Taylor, who was diagnosed in July 2012, has already had two false alarms but is confident a match will become available before its too late.

Getting the call is a miracle in itself. It comes after an online search of unrelated people by the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. The registry has access to 22 million potential volunteer donors in 71 countries, strangers prepared to help those like Taylor.

Despite popular belief, family members are matches only 25 per cent of the time, said Mary-Lynn Pride, a patient transplant liaison specialist at OneMatch.

More than 800 Canadians currently await transplants. OneMatch has more than 333,000 registered Canadian donors.

Taylor signed up after a second round of chemotherapy last summer, when doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital advised he needed a bone marrow transplant.

Taylor received the first call last November. The timing was perfect because his cancer was in remission, the only time a transplant can be done.

Two days before he was to be admitted to hospital, Taylor got bad news. The procedure was cancelled because the donor had unspecified medical complications, he said. OneMatch does not say why donors decide to abandon the procedure.

The second call came last month, but the donor withdrew for reasons unknown to Taylor.

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Leukemia patient pins hopes on OneMatch stem cell donor registry

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