To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Critical Need for Black Marrow and Stem Cell Donors Exists

There are currently 23 Black patients waiting for an unrelated stem cell donor in Canada. Many more are waiting worldwide. With the help of international searches, maybe 4 of these 23 Canadians will find a lifesaver. To give you a better idea of the need if these 23 patients were Caucasian, 15-16 would be able to find matches within the international registry as opposed to 4.

Also needed are people of mixed ethnicities meaning if you are Black and Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, Native American or any other ethnic combination your participation in the donor program is desperately needed as patients of mixed heritage have an even harder time finding a marrow or stem cell match. Their chance of finding match is even less than 4 in 23.

The range to begin effective matching is 10,000 - 20,000 potential donors. The optimal number of Black donors in Canada is 70,000 - 80,000. As you'll see below the actual statistics are currently less than 2000, a fraction of the range needed to effectively find a match for Black patients in need.

By The Numbers 2010:

New black registrants in Canada between Oct 2009 and 2010: 211
Total Black registrants in Canada in October 2010: 1644

New black registrants in Quebec between October 2009 and 2010: 3
Total Black registrants in Quebec in October 2009: 65

By The Numbers 2009:

New black registrants in Canada between Oct 2008 and 2009: 217
Total Black registrants in Canada in October 2009: 1433

New black registrants in Quebec between October 2008 and 2009: 38
Total Black registrants in Quebec in October 2009: 62 

Where to go in Canada to learn how to join the donor program:
In Quebec:
In Canada:
In the United Kingdom:

In the U.S. you can register through If you are a match for a Canadian patient your stem cells can be harvested here in the U.S. and flown to Canada, or anywhere in the world, to help save a patient's life. The truth is that with the exceptions of South Africa and the island of Martinique, most of the countries and islands that where Black ethnic groups are predominate do not have marrow registration organizations (this includes most of Africa) so it's crucial for people of Black ethnicities who want to help and live in countries that do have registries to join them and become part of the international donor pool.

I keep a list on the Helping website where you can see if the country you live in has a registry. CLICK HERE to view the international list of registries.

My friend Tamu posted these Canadian statistics on Facebook today. Tamu lost her brother Emru to Leukemia on November 11, 2008. There is a critical need for marrow and stem cell donors but particularly donors who are Black as they are grossly under represented in the national and international marrow registries. This means people from all Black geographic regions including people from Africa and the West Indies (Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados) are needed to be potential donors to patients in need.

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