Montreal woman desperately seeks Vietnamese stem cell donors

Leukemia patient Mai Duong is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant -- something doctors say the Montreal resident requires within a matter of weeks.

While finding a well-matched stem cell donor is already a difficult task, the 34-year-old mother of one faces an added challenge: shes Vietnamese.

Duong was first diagnosed with acute leukemia in 2013, when she was 15 weeks pregnant with her second child. She was forced to terminate the pregnancy as she underwent seven months of chemotherapy, putting her cancer into remission for seven months.

But it returned in May, and doctors gave her two months to find a stem cell match.

"The only option for me to get cured is with the generosity of people," she says.

Duongs case is raising the alarm about a need for stem cell donors among Canada's minority groups, as those in need of transplants are more likely to find a donor from the same ethnic background.

Canadian Blood Services says less than 25 per cent of individuals in need of a stem cell transplant will be able to find a match within their own families and will have to turn to the public inthe hopes of finding a suitable donor.

But ethnic minorities are under-represented on donor lists in North America.

Less than one per cent of registered stem cell donors in Quebec are of South Asian descent, according to Hema-Quebec, the provinces blood services agency. The statistics are similar across Canada and in the international donor database.

"There is a cultural effect and religious effect," spokesperson Susie Joron told CTV News. "The other issue is that the biggest registries are in America and Germany, which has a big Caucasian population."

Original post:
Montreal woman desperately seeks Vietnamese stem cell donors

Related Post