Stem cell donor found for Calgary teen suffering rare diseases: family

The family of a Calgary teen suffering from two life-threatening conditions shared the exciting news that a stem cell donor has been found.

In a Facebook post published Friday, the family called the news a “Christmas miracle.”

Roshlind Mance, 16, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and paroxysmal hemoglobinuria in the summer. Both are diseases of the blood and bone marrow.


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Mance needed a stem cell transplant from someone of Filipino descent, but no one in her family was a match. To make matters worse, only one per cent of registered donors in Canada are of Filipino descent.

But after multiple donor drives in western Canada and a tireless campaign to raise awareness, the family said a match, somewhere in the world, was found.

“…We would like to thank Roshlind’s match, wherever you are in the world. You have no idea how much it means to us that a complete stranger is willing to save Roshlind’s life! You are a real life superhero and we hope we can one day thank you in person!” read the Facebook post.

Along with searching for a stem cell match, the family was also working to encourage more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds to register as donors.

“Although our search for Roshlind has now ended, our work has not,” read the post.

“We are so blessed to have found a match for Roshlind and we want nothing more than to help other families find theirs as well; especially ethnic minorities who are so poorly underrepresented in the stem cell database.”

Through the process, the family had crossed paths with Edmonton man Bille Nguyen, who is suffering from a rare blood cancer.

Nguyen had learned his sister was a match and underwent a stem cell transplant in October.

To find out more about stem cell donation, head to the Canadian Blood Services website.

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