Cancer returns for Saanich father desperate for stem cell donor
Saanich resident Jeremy Chow, seen with his daughter, is desperately searching for a proper stem cell donor match. (Submitted)
The same week he turned 42 years old, Jeremy Chow’s doctor delivered the news he had been dreading.
The Saanich father had already faced the rigours of chemotherapy five times as he grappled with leukemia, and according to his doctors he will now face a sixth round. This week he was moved to Vancouver General Hospital for the therapy that his doctors say his body really doesn’t accept anyway.
“I’m being told… chemotherapy alone is not sufficient,” Chow told CTV News.
What could help instead is something of a conundrum. Stem cell therapy would be a perfect fit for the ailing island man, but because of his unique genetic makeup, suitable donors don’t seem to exist.
Chow is part Canton Chinese and part British, and according to doctors a stem cell donor would need a similar ethnic background.
Until now, searches of a massive database of stem cell donors have come up negative for a match, but Chow says his doctors are searching again.
“They are looking at the updated donor list, and looking at the new donors as they come in, checking against what I require.”
Confined to a hospital bed, Chow and his wife Evelyn continue to plead for new and diverse donors to come forward.
According to Canadian Blood Services, stem cell transplants can cure over 80 diseases and disorders. A Canadian stem cell territory manager says there are currently 600 people looking for a match despite 400,000 donors in the database.
The list is mainly comprised of white donors, with only three per cent of those having a mixed ethnic background.
More information about stem cell donations can be found here.