Blood cord donor found for Mai Duong
There's still no bone marrow donor for Montrealer Mai Duong but the 34-year-old has been matched with a blood cord donor in a development that could conceivably save her life, according to doctors at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.
Duong appeared at a press conference Tuesday morning and expressed appreciation to the donor.
“A mom is saving another mom’s life. That’s huge,” she said.
Dr. Lambert Busque and Dr. Sandra Cohen were on hand to explain the procedure which should give Duong a chance at survival along with chemotherapy treatments.
The blood cord donor was not identified and is described as being, "almost compatible, a six out of eight."
Duong was diagnosed with blood cancer when she was pregnant several years ago. The leukemia went into remission for 10 months but returned and the prognosis was that she would not survive with just chemotherapy alone.
Her cancer is currently in remission but doctors say it will inevitably return.
The mother of four will undergo six to eight weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments before the transplant.
Duong faces a long uncertain road ahead even though doctors now have cord blood.
"It's a big milestone, for sure," she said. "But things can go wrong again down the road like it went for me the first time, so I'm not going to celebrate it until I'm completely out of the woods."
Only one per cent of the 24 million listed donors worldwide are of Vietnamese descent according to Hema Quebec, a fact which led to difficulties in finding a match, which can be found with a simple DNA swab.
Canada Blood Services, which manages the stem cell and marrow registry outside Quebec, said in August that 340,837 people were registered in the rest of the country. Of them, 71 per cent were Caucasian, with the rest qualifying as "ethnically diverse" or of unknown origin.
Hema-Quebec, the organization that manages the province's list, said at the time that about three per cent of the 47,000 stem-cell donors were of Asian descent and only a fraction of those were Vietnamese. The ratios are similar among international donors and Vietnam doesn't have a registry of its own.
For two months the Save Mai Duong campaign has attempted to come up with a donor.
Certain Filipinos are also believed to be potentially-suitable candidates. To find out if you are a potential match, please click here.
With files from The Canadian Press