The search for a stem cell donor continues for Jeremy Chow who found out earlier this month his cancer had returned.
“I’m trying to stay positive,” Chow said.
In November of 2018, Chow was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After the past 4-months in remission, a routine blood work check from early August revealed Chow’s cancer was back.
The possible cure is a stem cell transplant but finding an exact match has been difficult.
To be a stem cell match, doctors look at genetic markers which are important when matching a donor to a patient.
Right now, diverse ethnic groups are very unrepresented in the registry and only account for 33-per cent of the Canadian stem cell database.
“Myself being bi-racial adds an extra layer of complexity to getting a specific donor,” says Chow.
But the Chow family has refused to give up hope and with the help of family members and friends, they have started a Facebook group and Instagram in hopes to find a match who is half Chinese and half Caucasian.
“We’re really reaching out to, we call it the halfers, the half Caucasian, half Chinese community, to please think about being a stem cell donor. There is just not enough donors, we are just so underrepresented,” Evelyn Chow, Jeremy’s wife said.
In partnership with Otherhalf, the family will be at the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival happening Saturday, Aug. 24 in Richmond to hold a stem cell drive.
As the family continues their search, Chow will remain away from his family, receiving treatment for the next couple of weeks at Vancouver General Hospital.
“You know thank you for all the support and the well-wishing. We’ll get through this,” Chow said.
If you are between the ages of 17 and 35 and are interested in becoming a possible donor or interested in learning more: https://www.blood.ca/en/stem-cells/donating-stem-cells.