Nationwide search to find stem cell match for 2-year-old Albertan with leukemia comes to Hamilton, Ont.

Nationwide search to find stem cell match for 2-year-old Albertan with leukemia comes to Hamilton, Ont.
Nationwide search to find stem cell match for 2-year-old Albertan with leukemia comes to Hamilton, Ont.

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:الخميس 15 سبتمبر 2022 11:03 صباحاً Ezra Marfo is two-years-old and suffers from a rare form of leukemia. 

"He's hanging in there. He's seen better days but he's still okay," his dad Jacob said on Tuesday.

The Marfos live in Lac La Biche Alberta, where, last year, Ezra was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.

That's when Jacob began a national call out, known as Swab4Ezra, to find a donor match for his son.

This weekend the Ghana Association of Hamilton is answering that call. They're holding a Swab4Ezra event at the Church of Pentacost on Barton St.. The swab drive will test community members for a potential stem cell match. According to Canada Blood Services, fewer than one per cent of people in the stem cell registry are of African descent.

Organizers are hoping they'll find someone who can save Ezra's life and grow the list of stem cell donors who are of African descent. 

"Ezra has been here in the hospital for such a long time. We all need to come together to help him and to help other people too," said Jacob Marfo.

The drive to increase the number of donors of African descent is being organized by the project Bring HOPE to Ezra.

They've organized efforts to test potential donors in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and now Hamilton. 

The swab-and-go event at the church on Barton St. is being organized by Elder Lawrence Obeng-Kittoe along with his family and friends. The testing is being done by community members with medical expertise including Obeng-Kittoe's wife and sister-in-law, who are nurses.

Obeng-Kittoe says many people don't realize how simple it is to test for a stem cell match. And painless.

"The more I understood it, I realized that this is something that everybody should go to help," said Obeng-Kittoe. 

Stem cell testing is fast and painless 

All that is required is a swab inside your cheek. The most painful part is filling out the paperwork. Blood Services Canada also allows people to order a take-home kit online and do the swabbing test themselves.

If it turns out that you're a match — someone who may be able to save a life — that process is simple and painless too, Obeng-Kittoe says.

"A lot of people thought that it had to do with going under the knife like an operation, but it's none of that. It's just to do with your blood," said Obeng-Kittoe.

The stem cells are extracted by a blood test. Stem cells are separated from the blood and then injected into the patient in need.

The swab drive will happen at the church on Sat Sept 17 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sun Sept 18 starting at 12:30 p.m. until cleanup.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

تم ادراج الخبر والعهده على المصدر، الرجاء الكتابة الينا لاي توضبح - برجاء اخبارنا بريديا عن خروقات لحقوق النشر للغير

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