Leukemia, my perception of the whole disease changed once I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last year. I had no clue what leukemia was, other than a blood cancer. I didn’t know that it could be cured if a willing donor came forward. The entire last year of my life has been about learning the statistics for survival. Obsessing over them until I vowed to do something to change the reality. As someone who needs a bone marrow transplant, my siblings were not a match, as matches are not based on blood type, and out of 10 patients, it is only likely that 3 will find a match within their families, but out of the 7 that look to the international and national registries around the world, only 40% will find their matches. A match can come from anywhere in the world, a global problem and in a world that is increasingly connected, finding solutions to curing deathly cancers like blood cancer are possible. We need #ARealMan to step up and commit to saving a life. Just over a million South Asians reside in Canada, but they make up less than 5% of the Canadian bone marrow registry.
“Approximately 1,000 Canadians today are desperately in need of a stem cell transplant because it is their last and best hope for recovery. Canadian patients currently, largely, rely on stem cells from bone marrow or peripheral blood donors. There are not enough donors and the registry of donors does not reflect the ethnic diversity of Canadian patients. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood could help solve this critical problem but in Canada, umbilical cords are discarded at birth.”
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Daljit Sanders lives in Vancouver, BC. She is a partner at Eery Media Workshop, an independent production company. A life long learner at Penn State's World Campus, you can connect with her on twitter @msdalj; Facebook Dreams for Daljit and website Will You Marrow Me.