A 23-year-old North Vancouver man with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is fighting for his life in St. Paul's hopsital. He's had chemotherapy but his only hope for remission is a bone-marrow transplant. The problem is there is a severe shortage of donors of mixed Asian and European ancestry, who would be the best chance of a match since they are from the same ethnic group.
James Erlandsen, an SFU student who worked at the Lynn Valley Save-On-Foods, was diagnosed with the disease in February.
Erlandsen's family is putting out a plea for people, particularly those of Eurasian ancestry, to donate bone marrow.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts are found in the blood and bone marrow.
The Straight recently wrote about bone-marrow transplants and the difficulty for people of ethnic minorities to find matches. See the December 14, 2006, story at www.straight.com/article/bone-marrow-donors-give-a-chance-at-life.
People with leukemia and lymphoma also require frequent blood transfusions during and after treatment, and sometimes there is a waiting list for blood prodcuts (platelets, for instance) as well. Canadian Blood Services urges people to consider giving blood as well.
More details on donating blood and/or bone marrow are at www.blood.ca/.