Kino Kid (kino_kid) wrote in caribspot,
Kino Kid

  • Mood:


Emru Townsend needs our help. He has Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and he and his family are hoping a compatible bone marrow donor registers in the unrelated database. Please consider cross-posting.

The person who is most likely to match Emru is someone with the same or similar ethnic background.

In the US, if you are one of the white patients and in need of a bone marrow transplant, 85 percent find a suitable donor. For black patients, that number falls to 60 percent.

In Canada, if you are one the patients of European descent and in need of a bone marrow transplant, 75 percent find a suitable donor. For everyone else, that number tumbles to 10-30% percent (I have not been able to find a breakdown by ethnicity for the latter group).

This includes people who receive transplants involving an international donor.

There are 500,000 registrants who identified as African-American in the US and if you think that this is large number of people, you are WRONG. They consider it a shortage. Because of the complexity of matching, hundreds of thousands of people are needed worldwide to find someone who is Emru's genetic twin in terms of their bone marrow. None of the 11 million people already in the worldwide database match Emru. He just needs to find one match somewhere who is registered.

If 30,000 people of African Caribbean descent registered in Canada, it would be a SHORTAGE. In Canada as of March 31, 2008, there are only 1633 black people of any background registered as unrelated potential donors.

Heal Emru.


What people don't know about bone marrow registration and donation could kill us. Here are common myths about the subject.

Most people think that - for the donor - donation takes a long time, it is dangerous, it always requires surgery, a piece of bone is required, and it is very, very painful. In fact, these are all FALSE.

Anonymous donation is never done if there is an elevated risk to the donor. It is usually done as a procedure that might include surgery where you go in for a day. The actual procedure is measured in a few hours, not days or weeks. Most people are discharged on the same day.

70% of donation: after receiving injections in the days preceding the procedure to harvest the stem cells, blood is extracted from the arm in a process called apheresis.

30% of donations: a bone marrow fluid is extracted during surgery from within the back of the pelvic bone under anaesthesia. An epidural (in the pelvic bone, NOT the spine) can be used in surgery. You may be sore, but you won't be in excruciating pain.

Up to 5% of bone marrow is used, less if you donate to a child, and it is replaced completely in the body in a few weeks.

For the RECIPIENT, the transplant is risky, lengthy and is usually the last resort for survival. The RECIPIENT is prone to infection, the transplanted tissue attacking the body, and the body attacking the healthy marrow. They also have a lengthy hospital stay, to keep them from gettting an infection while their body is so weak.

The idea that the donor is most likely to match someone in their family is FALSE.

While the chance of matching a sibling is 25% and some people match a cousin, the other 70% require an unrelated donor on the bone marrow registry.

The idea that you need to donate bone marrow to be on the registry is FALSE.

It only requires a blood sample in Quebec, the UK and France, and a cheek swab in the rest of Canada and in the US.

You need to get a form by calling Hema Quebec or go to their website and download a consent form. It takes 5 minutes to fill in and you will get a call in a week to arrange the collection of a blood sample. In the rest of Canada, you can do it without even leaving home because you can order a mouth swab kit from OneMatch. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes, to fill in a questionnaire to make sure you understand your commitment. t's free to register in Canada.

In the US, order a kit from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) or DKMS Americas online, or find a bone marrow drive or donor center near you. Typing costs between $52 to $65 depending on who does it, but there are methods to get free typing. Keep in mind, even if you don't pay, someone else has made a donation so you could register, so give what you can, if possible.

Adults who meet eligibility requirements can register, but you should check them before ordering a kit. If you order a free kit from and cannot use it, someone has already paid for it. You can find out your eligibility by checking with the website of your registry or calling them. Please note, Emru and his family are aware there are restrictions in place in many countries for gay or bisexual male registrants, and it is not usually the registry, but the countries' goverment that has decided this. Do not assume the registry set the regulation in place. Even if you are not eligible to give for this reason, you are still eligible to receive a transplant. There are many ways to help if you are ineligible.

People registered in any country can match another person who is waiting for a donor. Doctors search within the family, then nationally, then globally. You do not have to leave your area to make the donation.

Lastly, people think it isn't hard to find a match. This is SO FALSE.

If you've played the 6/49, you have an idea of the millions of combinations you can have even if millions of people buy a ticket. Some weeks, no one wins. In fact, tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people are required in any specific donor pool to afford someone a chance at finding a compatible person with the same combination of ten genetic markers on their cells to theirs to perform a life-saving procedure, like bone marrow donation or kidney donation.

The most likely donor is someone of the same or similar ethnicity, because you inherit the antigens from your mother and your father, and there is less genetic variance within a particular ethnicity.
The number required for a healthy donor pool in Canada is 78 000 people of African descent. For Emru, the number of black registrants in Canada, people with a similar ethnic profile, total 1633 people as of the end of March 2008. There are 11 million people registered worldwide and people still cannot find matches.

Due to genetic variance, 1 in 500 people of European descent should be on the registry. For the same reasons, the number of people of African descent is 1 in 10. So many people are required.

Is this news to you? Then don't assume your friends and family know about it and TELL THEM. If you need more information, ask me. You can use comments, go to my Livejournal profile, or send me a message. This is my brother, but we have already met others in the same situation and know there are many others who we will never meet.

All people regardless of ethnic background in or from the Caribbean are at risk. There are no registries in any Caribbean country, but people in the islands can still receive transplants from people who can register in other countries, like Canada or the US.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.