Right Turn: Finding donors for multi-ethnic patients with rare blood diseases

Author: Guest, 10/07/16

Laine Jaremey is the Communications Specialist at CCRM. Laine has over eight years of experience as a strategic communicator with a focus in the health industry. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Postgraduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. Follow her on Twitter @LaineJaremey

Being diagnosed with a rare blood disease that can only be treated with a bone marrow transplant is devastating for both patients and their families. But, imagine what it’s like for a person of mixed ethnicity diagnosed with a rare blood disease to learn they cannot receive treatment because they do not have a “genetic twin” in the global directory of donors.

This issue is addressed in a new documentary film called Mixed Match, which raises awareness of the increased complexity of finding bone marrow donors and umbilical cord blood – a source of stem cells for transplantation – for people of mixed ethnicity. The film premiered this week at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

The documentary’s director, Jeff Chiba Stearns, is of mixed ethnicity and learned there is only one person on the global bone marrow directory who is a match for him if he ever requires it. In an interview with CBC News, Stearns shared that he wants the film “to give hope to patients who have more of a challenging time trying to find a bone marrow match.”

Stearns also shared that he hopes the film inspires multi-ethnic people to learn about how ethnicity plays a role in bone marrow and stem cell transplants, and how they can help others by joining the bone marrow registry or by making umbilical cord blood donations. Visit Canadian Blood Services for more information.

Check out the trailer for Mixed Match and learn more at www.mixedmatchproject.com.

Mixed Match – Festival Trailer 2016 from Mixed Match on Vimeo.

 

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

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Guest

Signals accepts guest blog posts on topics relevant to stem cells and regenerative medicine, as well as submissions for its Right Turn Friday feature. See http://www.signalsblog.ca/about/ for more information. The opinions, accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made in guest posts are the responsibility of the author only and not the editor of Signals or CCRM, publisher of Signals. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with the author.
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